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  • 3/4 Front Glamour 2018 MINI Hardtop
  • Grille  2018 MINI Hardtop
  • 3/4 Rear Glamour  2018 MINI Hardtop
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Expert's Rating

3.5Good | Details


26 City / 35 Highway
Automotive Editor -

Buyers who want the quintessential Mini experience naturally gravitate to the charming Hardtop. The small hatchback, available in a traditional three- or a more versatile five-door body, delivers plenty of personality, spunky performance, and unmistakable style for the price of some conventional compacts.

What's New for 2018

A rear-view camera and rear parking sensors are now standard.

Mini Hardtop

Choosing Your MINI Hardtop

The Hardtop starts out with a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine that develop 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. The standard six-speed manual transmission features automatic rev-matching, as does the optional six-speed automatic ($1,250). Even with the base engine, the Hardtop is quick for its class – low-end torque is a particular strong point – and achieves an EPA-estimated 32 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving, or 30 mpg with the automatic.

The available 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo in the Cooper S provides a boost to 189 hp and 207 lb-feet of torque. The automatic yields slightly better efficiency in this case, 28 mpg combined versus 26 mpg with the manual. There's also a high-output version of the 2.0-liter reserved for the John Cooper Works models that delivers 228 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque without any loss of efficiency.

Two-door versions offer 34 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded, while the four-door maxes out at 40.7 cubic feet. These figures are typical for a subcompact hatchback.

Trim levels differ mainly in engine and other performance hardware:


Gets the 1.5-liter engine, plus an electronic limited-slip differential, keyless ignition, automatic headlights and wipers, leatherette upholstery with cloth inserts, a cooled glovebox, and heated mirrors. The six-speaker infotainment system features HD radio, smartphone integration, and a 6.5-inch infotainment display. The Cooper rolls on 15-inch alloy wheels as standard. Prices start at $22,450 for the three-door (including an $850 destination charge), and $23,450 for the four-door.

Cooper S

Carries the 189-hp 2.0-liter engine, along with a hood scoop, adjustable driving modes, sport seats, dual center-mounted exhaust tips, 16-inch wheels, and LED fog lights. The two-door Cooper S starts at $26,050, while the four-door is priced from $27,050.

John Cooper Works

Comes with the more powerful 2.0-liter, an firmer suspension, Brembo front brakes, and 17-inch wheels. The outside receives LED headlights and an aerodynamic body kit. The steering wheel and seat upholstery are also unique. The JCW is available as a two-door only, starting at $32,650.

Mini offers a huge array of options a la carte, although the best are packaged together. The Cold Weather Package ($750) adds heated front seats and power-folding and auto-dimming side mirrors. The $1,750 Technology Package tacks on navigation, a high-resolution 8.8-inch display, and an automated parking system. The Premium Package kicks up the luxury quotient with a panoramic sunroof, a Harman Kardon sound system, keyless access, and ambient interior lighting.

The Cooper can get a Sport Package ($2,000) with a driver-adjustable suspension, sport seats, 16-inch wheels, and unique exterior accents. The Cooper S is available with a Sport Package of its own, adding 17-inch wheels and the adjustable suspension for $1,500. John Cooper Works Interior ($600) and Exterior ($3,250) packages are available on the Cooper and Cooper S and add some of the range-topping model's visual flair without compromising the lesser trims' more relaxed driving character.

The Fully Loaded Package for the Cooper ($5,250) and Cooper S ($4,750) combines the contents of the Technology, Premium, and Sport packages. (Cold Weather remains optional.)

Several different types of upholstery are available on all models, ranging from $750 to $2,250 – customers are also free to customize the cabins with stylish trim pieces on the dash and doors. Dual hood stripes (in black or white) are offered for $100 and are easily matched to the no-cost contrasting roof. Buyers can also choose from of a wide range of graphics and dress-up items like red hubcaps ($75), full-roof decals ($305), and rearview mirror caps ($100). All three models are available with a large variety of wheel options priced from $0 to $2,000.

CarsDirect Tip

The basic Cooper outperforms most cars in this class, so we recommend driving one before deciding whether an upgrade to the sportier S or JCW is in order. Note that the JCW's sport suspension can get harsh in daily driving, but MINI allows buyers to "downgrade" to the standard suspension at no cost.

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