It was bound to happen. Smaller cars have been getting bigger for years and now this trend has hit Mini. Specifically, we’re talking about the fully redesigned, and bigger, 2014 Mini Cooper hatchback (also known as the Cooper hardtop). But before you start firing off angry tweets to @Mini, know that this new Cooper is only about a cell phone longer than before and is still anywhere from 8-11 inches shorter than most other subcompact cars. Rest assured, the Mini Cooper still warrants its name.
Of course, the added size for this third-generation Cooper hatchback does translate to more space for people and things. The hatchback’s backseat is still small, but it provides more room than before, especially shoulder room and hiproom. Maximum cargo space is up more than 50 percent, rating a generous (at least by Mini Cooper standards) 38 cubic feet. Other notable changes to the hatchback include a pair of new, turbocharged engines that are both more powerful and more fuel-efficient than before. Even the base Cooper hardtop with an automatic transmission is fairly quick; Mini claims it will scoot to 60 mph in just 7.3 seconds. On the technology side, the hatchback now offers a rearview camera, a head-up display and an automated parallel-parking system.
What hasn’t changed is the spunky and agile nature of this little runabout that makes it such a blast to drive, even when you’re just running errands. And it’s still one of the smallest cars you can buy, so the Mini remains a snap to park. All told, the minor growth spurt and other changes have boosted practicality, performance and fuel efficiency without affecting the hatchback’s lovable personality.