2014 Mini Hardtop: Car Seat Check

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The old saying is curiosity killed the cat. Well, in our case, it nearly twisted us into pretzels while trying to install child-safety seats into the 2014 Mini Hardtop two-door. This Mini isn't nearly as mini as it used to be with more than 4 inches added to its length and almost 2 inches to its width, but it's not exactly car-seat friendly. And it certainly doesn't have much, if any, rear legroom.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

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By Jennifer Newman | November 21, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop 2-Door

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Vehicles Affected: More than 5,800 model-year 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop 2-Door cars manufactured between Jan. 7 and July 21

The Problem: The spare wheel may have been attached under the car with a nut that is not self-locking. Vibrations from driving may cause the nut to loosen, allowing the wheel to separate from the car, becoming a road hazard and increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Mini-manufacturer BMW was expected to begin notifying owners this month, and dealers will replace the spare wheel securing nut with a self-locking nut for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Mini at 866-275-6464, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer

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By Matt Schmitz | November 20, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Mini Cooper Hardtop 4 Door Photo Gallery (26 Photos)

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The latest addition to Mini's rapidly expanding lineup is the 2015 Mini Cooper Hardtop 4 Door, which is now debuting at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. Based on the recent redesign of the two-door hatchback Cooper, the 4 Door is longer both bumper to bumper and in wheelbase, but still hews close to the look of the two-door from the front. Toward the back, however, rear windows look shrunken with even smaller glass behind them that wraps around to the rear windshield.

Related: More 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage

Inside, the interior and optional navigation system carry over from the most recent version of the two-door. Buyers will have the option of the base Cooper model with a 124-horsepower, turbocharged three-cylinder or the S version with a 189-hp, turbocharged four-cylinder.

Check out the gallery below; Cars.com photos by Evan Sears.

By Matt Schmitz | November 20, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Mini Cooper S Real-World Cargo Space

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"Mini" has never been an accurate descriptor of the Cooper Hardtop. While small, the car still offers a usable amount of space, and the 2014 redesign only increases its functionality thanks to a larger cargo area.

Related: 2014 Mini Cooper Expert Review

"The cargo area is now 8.7 cubic feet, up from 5.7 cubic feet, with the rear seats in place. This is the measurement with the adjustable cargo floor/shelf flipped up, out of the way, revealing a deeper cargo well similar to what you'll find in most minivans. This allows for two sizable items, like overhead suitcases or perhaps even golf bags, to stand up in the well. However, most users will likely leave the shelf in place, storing some items underneath it and putting more on top. The shelf can ratchet up to a second position, flush with the backs of the rear seats when they're folded flat, for an expanded cargo floor. That total space is 38.0 cubic feet," Cars.com reviewer David Thomas explains in his review.

See how well common cargo items fit in the 2014 Mini Cooper S below.

By Joe Bruzek | November 6, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 L.A. Auto Show: What to Expect

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If you like luxury vehicles, SUVs or sports cars — and even luxury SUVs that perform like sports cars — you're gonna love the lineup of debuts at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show later this month. Organizers say there will be 60 premieres, 30 of them global and nearly two-thirds will be luxury and performance offerings.

More 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show News

Set to bow at the 107-year-old event — the last major auto show of the calendar year and the first of the new auto-show season — are a host of SUVs, from compact crossovers to midsize models. Performance coupes, convertibles and sedans also abound from automakers ranging from Scion to Cadillac.

And perhaps fitting for the Southern California city famed for its air of affluence, nearly half of the anticipated entrees on our list of what to watch for are from luxury automakers. Among those are SUVs and sports cars from the likes of Audi and BMW. Moreover, during the Connected Car Expo on Nov. 18, Volvo's "Drive Me" autonomous vehicle will make its North American debut, at which time executives will discuss the automaker's driverless technology.

Here's what we'll be looking for as Cars.com covers the L.A. auto show from the event floor:

By Matt Schmitz | November 5, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Mini Cooper S Real-World Fuel Economy

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Cars.com caught wind of the Mini Cooper Hardtop's lowered fuel-economy ratings a few weeks ago while, coincidentally, a 2014 Mini Cooper S with a manual transmission sat in our test fleet. Talk about good timing. With the story unfolding, our goal was to put the Mini's impressive ratings to the test because the original 25/38/29 mpg city/highway/combined ratings were a big perk of the wildly entertaining hatchback.

Related: 2014 Mini Cooper S Versus 2015 Volkswagen GTI

After an EPA audit, our test car's original rating of 25/38/29 mpg dropped to 24/34/28 mpg. A 1 mpg drop in combined ratings isn't a significant adjustment, but the 4-mpg ding of the highway rating is a biggie for cruisers. As it turns out, the highway fuel economy was one of the more interesting observations in our test.

By Joe Bruzek | November 3, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Mini Cooper S Versus 2015 Volkswagen GTI

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In our recent $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge the Volkswagen GTI bested a field of eight contenders to take the win. However, the redesigned Mini Cooper was not part of that test. Things don't always work out the way you want, but getting a new Cooper S with a manual transmission at the same time as a new GTI with a manual transmission seemed like karma telling us we needed to go driving. OK, maybe it was just a really good excuse to get out of the office.

Related: $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge

Both cars were similarly equipped to the gills with sticker prices totaling more than $33,000 including destination — not exactly "cheap." When all was said and done after a Chicago-area drive route traversing city, suburban and highway roads, the face-off was ridiculously close with the final scoring decided by one point overall.

By David Thomas | October 29, 2014 | Comments (14)

Mini Lowers Cooper Hardtop MPG Ratings After EPA Audit

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The redesigned 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop is one of those rare cars that puts a grin on your face and keeps it there even after refueling. The Cooper's window sticker lists highway fuel economy ratings near or above 40 mpg, depending on model, but it turns out that's not the case. According to the EPA, the frugal, fun 2014 Cooper isn't as frugal as Mini originally reported, and the agency is dinging both the Cooper's turbocharged three-cylinder engine and high-performance turbocharged four-cylinder Cooper S after auditing the cars in its own facility.

Related: 2014 Mini Cooper S Expert Review

What happened? "This adjustment was made as the result of retesting models following notification by the EPA that road load testing for one model had delivered different results. Engineers worked closely with the EPA to incorporate these findings into Mini's computer simulation testing," Mini said in a statement.

Combined ratings are down 1 mpg across the board for the Cooper and Cooper S Hardtop. See a complete list of before and after ratings below.

By Joe Bruzek | October 24, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2014 BMW i3, Mini Cooper Hardtop

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Vehicles Affected: Nearly 30 model-year 2014 BMW i3 electric vehicles manufactured March 31, 2014, and Mini Cooper Hardtop cars manufactured between Feb. 2 and May 30, 2014

The Problem: The airbag inflator may not have been assembled correctly, preventing the airbag from deploying properly in a crash and increasing the risk of an injury.

The Fix: BMW will begin notifying owners this month, and dealers will replace the front passenger side airbag for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call BMW at 800-525-7417, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Matt Schmitz | September 9, 2014 | Comments (0)

Cars.com's Top 10 Fun-to-Drive Fuel Sippers

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When I was 10, my dad set me and a go-kart loose in an abandoned parking lot, free to zip around the blacktop. At that age, you don't give a thought to how much gas costs; it's all about the fun. At this age, however, fuel economy is a big consideration when it comes to buying a car, but it doesn't have to trump the fun-to-drive factor.

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There are plenty of cars that offer both fun and fuel savings, from affordable subcompacts and gas-electric hybrids to pricier luxury cars and diesel-powered vehicles. To qualify for this list, a car has to have an EPA combined rating of 30 mpg, while bringing out the inner go-kart-loving kid in all of us:

By Jennifer Geiger | June 9, 2014 | Comments (9)

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