Pros: Outstanding handling, especially on performance models; convertible top partially retracts to offer “sunroof” mode; a plethora of personalization options
Cons: Cramped, barely usable back seat; noticeable cowl shake undermines handling crispness compared to closed-roof Minis; unconventional control layout
CG Says: The 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop is redesigned on a slightly larger chassis–see our 2015 Mini Hardtop review for more info on the new-for-2014 Hardtop model. Mini Convertibles continue on the previous-generation Mini platform for 2014, though a similarly redesigned convertible will likely debut in the near future, perhaps as a 2016 model. The 2014 Mini Convertibles may be less practical than sister Hardtops, but they’re no less rewarding to drive or day-to-day useable. The soft-top transformation makes sacrifices in rear-seat space, luggage room, and visibility, but that won’t matter much to those seeking an open-air 4-seater with old-school British charm. And the novel three-way roof (the section just over the front seats can be opened) is a plus for all-weather versatility. The only major downsides are a rocky ride, quirky controls, and prices that escalate alarmingly with liberal use of the lengthy options list. Though the lively Cooper S has traditionally been our favorite Mini Hardtop, we marginally prefer the base model among Convertibles because it’s the most affordable. Besides, most people buy ragtops for open-air fun, not maximum performance.