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2015 MINI Hardtop 2 Door

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2015 MINI Hardtop 2 Door Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.9

The Mini Cooper hasn't exactly been "mini" since it was reintroduced more than 10 years ago by its new parent company, BMW. However, the little car carved out a significant niche for itself as a high-end subcompact that people were perfectly happy to spend big-car dollars on. Now in its third generation, the 2015 Mini Cooper is less mini than ever with the addition of a new Mini Cooper Hardtop 4-door. Yet there's little difference between the 2-door and 4-door's fun-to-drive feel, high style and nearly infinite equipment variations. If you need a Mini that really scoots, a new John Cooper Works edition of the 2-door Hardtop will debut this spring, bringing a 228-horsepower engine and race-like handling.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2015 Mini Cooper Hardtop is a great pick if you want a premium-feeling car that's fun to drive, looks cool and offers a zillion different customization options. The 4-door offers a usable back seat, and all Mini Coopers are fuel-efficient and easy to park.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Neither the 2-door nor 4-door Mini Cooper offers a roomy rear seat, although the 4-door does offer 5-passenger seating. Additionally, it's hard to ignore that a nicely equipped Mini Cooper can cost thousands more than a similarly equipped Hyundai Veloster, Fiat 500 or Honda Fit.

What's New for 2015

The 2-door Mini Cooper Hardtop was all-new last year. This year, a new 4-door model joins the lineup, sharing the same basic design, the turbocharged 3-cylinder and 4-cylinder engine choices, and upgraded technology and safety features. Additionally, the high-performance John Cooper Works edition returns to the 2-door.

Driving the Hardtop 2 Door
Driving Impressions

First, let's just get this out of the way: The new Mini Cooper 4-door gives up nearly nothing to its 2-door brother. Despite being a bit bigger, it still has...

... the sharp handling and quick reflexes we've come to expect from these sporty little hatchbacks. While not the most powerful, Minis have excelled at making the most of their front-wheel-drive chassis with a corner-carving ability that has to be experienced to be believed. Sure, on the highway the ride gets a bit jittery, not everyone will like the quick steering, and yes it's a bit on the loud side. Three turbocharged engines are available, from the 3-cylinder in base models, to the 4-cylinder in the Cooper S models, to the 228-horsepower version in the 2-door John Cooper Works Hardtop. Whether you choose the manual or quick-shifting automatic, every Mini Cooper is fun to drive.

FUEL ECONOMY/FUN FACTOR
Both Mini Cooper 2-door and 4-door models prove you don't need big horsepower to have fun. That even applies to the base models. While not fast by any means, they're quick enough, and fuel economy of up to 40 mpg is more than a consolation prize.

FUN DETAILS
Every Mini Cooper is loaded with style. Not only can you customize your Mini with a long list of available options, but each one comes loaded with fun details. For example, nearly every switch is a toggle, including the big red ignition toggle in the middle of the dash.

2015 MINI Hardtop 2 Door Details
Interior

The 2015 Mini Cooper Hardtop interior's blend of modern technology and retro styling cues is like something out of the cult hit TV show Archer. The huge circular center display houses either the speedometer or the infotainment system, depending on how you've equipped your car, and the various toggles look decidedly retrograde but control modern functions like the keyless ignition. What are undoubtedly 21st Century are the comfortable seats, clever packaging and slick head-up display on the windshield. The 4-door offers reasonable room for two, with a center seating position if you absolutely must have five people in the car.

Exterior

The 2015 Mini Cooper has a "bulldog" stance, meaning they're low and squat, not furry and drooling. The wide stance helps these little cars handle so well, and gives them the distinctive look we've come to love. In addition to contrasting color schemes, there are other trim choices buyers can make to ensure their Mini is theirs and theirs alone. Being only about 10 inches shorter than the VW Golf, the 4-door Mini Cooper stretches the idea of what can be considered "mini" while still managing to look sharp. The John Cooper Works edition adds special badges, wheels and brakes.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Base-model 2015 Mini Cooper 2-door and 4-door models use a turbocharged 3-cylinder engine. Base Mini Cooper models come with 6-way adjustable manual seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and automatic climate control. Cooper S models add a 4-cylinder turbo engine, sport seats, run-flat tires, LED fog lights, larger wheels and tires, and bigger brakes, plus sporty-looking features like a hood scoop. The Mini Cooper John Cooper Works edition comes with an even more powerful engine, even bigger brakes and a stiffer sport suspension. All Minis come with three years/36,000 miles of no-cost maintenance.

Optional Equipment

Where to start? Mini tells us that there are more than 10 million ways to customize its cars, most of which have to do with the long list of available wheels and styling accents one can apply, so go nuts with that if you like. As for major options, there's a 6-speed automatic transmission available for the standard, Cooper S and Cooper JCW models. A Technology package adds a high-definition screen, integrated iPhone apps, a navigation system and a harman/kardon audio system. A cold weather package adds heated seats and mirrors, while a sport suspension package beefs up the handling.

Under the Hood

The base Mini Cooper has a 1.5-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, but it's important to note that with 134 horsepower, it's actually more powerful than the non-turbo 4-cylinder it replaced last year. Cooper S models get a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with 189 horsepower. The Cooper JCW offers the most powerful engine ever put in a Mini: a 228-horsepower version of that 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. Power goes to the front wheels through either a 6-speed manual transmission, or a 6-speed automatic. While Minis are fuel-efficient, note that all Minis require premium-grade gasoline.

Cooper
1.5-liter turbocharged inline-3
134 horsepower @ 4,500-6,000 rpm
162 lb-ft of torque @ 1,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/40 mpg (manual), 28/37 mpg (automatic)

Mini Cooper S
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
189 horsepower @ 4,700-6,000 rpm
207 lb-ft of torque @ 1,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/34 mpg (manual), 26/33 mpg (automatic)

John Cooper Works
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
228 horsepower @ 5,200-6,000 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 1,250-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: NA

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