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.

More Top 10s

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 (8)

2015 Mini Cooper Hardtop 4 Door: First Look

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Competes with: VW Golf, Fiat 500L, Nissan Juke

Looks like: A subdued Mini Countryman

Powertrains: 134-hp, 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine or 189-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with six-speed manual or automatic transmission

Hits dealerships: January 2015

It seems Mini is not satisfied with its recently expanded lineup of vehicles that added roadsters, coupes and even "SUVs" over the past few years. The addition of a four-door variant to the traditional Mini Hardtop makes us think the lineup will be "ever expanding."

2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop Expert Review

Called the Mini Cooper Hardtop 4 Door, this new model is based on the recent redesign of the two-door hatchback, the model that reintroduced the brand to the U.S. around the turn of the millennium. The two options in door-count transform the Mini Hardtop into a true competitor of Volkswagen's Golf, which comes in either two- or four-door hatchback body styles.

The 4 Door is 6.3 inches longer overall than the two-door with the wheelbase stretched a total of 2.9 inches. At 157.4 inches long it is still considerably shorter than a Kia Soul at 163 inches and the new VW Golf four-door at 167.5 inches.

By David Thomas | June 5, 2014 | Comments (3)

Next Mini Convertible Spied on U.S. Roads

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Mini's new Hardtop impressed us earlier this year when we took it through its paces in Puerto Rico. Now it seems the redesigned Mini Convertible is getting some work done on mainland roads ahead of an official debut later this year.

Related: 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop First Drive, Photo Gallery 

This photo of the next Convertible in camouflage — that's what those in the industry call all the swirly decals — was caught in Southern California by a Cars.com editor's family member. Not only is it a new Cooper, but by the look of the center-mounted dual exhaust this is the Cooper S version of the Mini Convertible.

By David Thomas | May 28, 2014 | Comments (0)

Mini Superleggera Concept Very Un-Mini (20 Photos)

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Spectators at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este 2014 classic-car contest in Lake Como, Italy, received a bilingual greeting of "All right?" and "Buongiorno!" as BMW introduced the Mini Superleggera Vision. The automaker described the electric-powered roadster concept car as "modern Britishness meets Italian flair," but the first thing you'll likely notice is its minimal Mini-ness. The Superleggera easily bears the least resemblance to any previous Mini model we've seen.

More Concept Cars

The Superleggera combines Italian body construction with Mini's iconic British visual cues on the outside, and inside uses leather, aluminum and black chrome flourishes, according to the automaker.

What do you think of this Mini concept's blending of European cultural influences? Sound off in the comment section and check out the gallery of manufacturer's photos below.

By Matt Schmitz | May 27, 2014 | Comments (1)

2015 Mini Countryman: First Look

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Competes with: Fiat 500L, Volkswagen Tiguan, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Looks like: The 2014 Countryman ... and all other Minis with four doors

Powertrains: 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 121, 181 or 208 hp; six-speed manual or automatic transmission; front- or all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Summer 2014

More 2014 New York Auto Show Coverage

The 2015 Countryman, the largest of Minis, will appear this week at the 2014 New York International Auto Show sporting the slightest of updates, outside and inside.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | April 15, 2014 | Comments (0)

Mini Clubman Concept Photo Gallery (17 Photos)

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The Mini Clubman Concept could herald some big changes to the current three-door subcompact. First and foremost, the Clubman Concept is substantially longer than the Mini Cooper Hardtop and has four full doors and room for five passengers. Check out the photo gallery below and read our First Look at the concept car here.

By Matt Schmitz | February 26, 2014 | Comments (1)

Mini Clubman Concept: First Look

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The saying goes that you can never have enough money or chocolate, but it seems that you can also add "kinds of Mini Cooper " to that list as well, as the brand continues to come out with variants on the original three-door subcompact.

Mini Clubman Concept Photo Gallery

The latest, the Mini Clubman Concept, is distinctly different than the current production Clubman. It's longer than the new Mini Cooper Hardtop, but unlike the last Clubman, it has four full doors and room for five passengers, essentially making it a four-door Mini Cooper.

By Aaron Bragman | February 26, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop Video

"How'd they do that?" Cars.com reviewer David Thomas wants to know. How, indeed, did Mini make the 2014 Cooper Hardtop substantially larger, quicker, nimbler, more spacious and just all-around cooler — all while achieving a remarkable boost in fuel economy but not price? Thomas can't answer that, but while test-driving both of the redesigned car's engines — a 134-horsepower, turbocharged three-cylinder and a 189-hp four-cylinder in the base and S models, respectively — he didn't have time to be confounded. He was too busy having fun.

Full 2014 Mini Hardtop Review

By Matt Schmitz | February 26, 2014 | Comments (3)

2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop Review

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At this rate, the Mini Cooper Hardtop eventually may have to drop the "Mini" for the sake of truth in advertising. The completely redesigned 2014 model is longer, wider and taller than its predecessor. Despite the swelling, it's lighter and boasts outstanding fuel-economy estimates. Cars.com reviewer David Thomas recently got familiar with the new Cooper during a Puerto Rico drive event and found that the overhauled powertrains delivered the sprightly, curve-carving performance one expects from the brand.

2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop Review

Cars.com photo by David Thomas

By Matt Schmitz | February 12, 2014 | Comments (2)

2011 Models Less Reliable Than 2010 Vehicles, J.D. Power Study Finds

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Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac led J.D. Power and Associates' 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study, which tracks problems per vehicle from original owners of 3-year-old cars — in this case, 2011 models. But overall problems rose 6 percent versus last year's study of 2010 models, the first time since J.D. Power's 1998 VDS that reliability in late-model cars has declined.

Does Reliability Affect Luxury-Car Sales?

Among non-luxury brands, Honda (sixth overall), Toyota (eighth) and Subaru (12th) ranked highest in the 31-brand study. Hyundai, Jeep, Land Rover, Dodge and Mini rounded out the bottom five.

Vehicle dependability, which J.D. Power expresses in problems per 100 ("PP100") vehicles, rose to 133 PP100 in the 2014 study. A year ago, it was 126 PP100 — the lowest in the 25-year study's history. Drivetrain problems led to most of the increase, the company said, as four-cylinder engines and large diesel motors accounted for more problems than conventional five- and six-cylinder engines.

By Kelsey Mays | February 12, 2014 | Comments (6)

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