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.
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:
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.
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.