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#9

in Affordable Sports Cars

MSRP: $25,550 - $35,700
Invoice: $23,505 - $32,845
MPG: 28 City / 35 Hwy
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MINI Cooper Roadster Review

The 2014 MINI Cooper Roadster ranks 9 out of 10 Affordable Sports Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the MINI Cooper Roadster, as well as reliability and safety data.

Test drivers agree that the 2014 Mini Cooper Roadster offers top-down fun and an engaging driving experience, but they note that confusing interior controls and a noisy cabin may limit its appeal.

Three available engines are offered in the Mini Roadster, and though auto writers agree that the base four-cylinder Roadster has enough power for most buyers, many prefer the extra power and refined turbocharged engines that come with Cooper S and John Cooper Works models. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and reviewers love the shifter’s short, quick throws and the clutch’s excellent pedal feel. The Mini Cooper Roadster uses premium fuel and the EPA reports that it gets up to 28/35 mpg city/highway, which is better than the fuel economy of most sports cars in the class. Reviewers love the 2014 Roadster’s driving dynamics, noting that agile handling and precise steering make it a remarkably fun car to drive. Still, some auto writers say that the Mini Roadster can ride a bit harshly over imperfect roads.

Like other Mini models, test drivers note that the 2014 Roadster’s cabin features a retro-inspired design with a large, centrally located speedometer and attractive interior materials. While a few critics say that the 2014 Roadster’s cabin is a bit narrow, they also report that the Mini Roadster has comfortable seats that offer good head- and legroom. Some test drivers write that the toggle switches for the power windows could be easier to use, and others write that an unlined convertible top means that the cabin can be noisy at highway speeds with the top up. However, others appreciate that the Roadster’s available infotainment system integrates with smartphone apps like Pandora Internet radio. The 2014 Mini Cooper Roadster comes standard with a six-speaker stereo with Bluetooth and HD Radio, while optional features include a Harman Kardon sound system, navigation, rear parking sensors and the Mini Connected infotainment system.

  • "The Roadster is based on the 2-seat MINI Cooper Coupe, which is known for razor-sharp handling and a generally enjoyable driving experience. The Roadster keeps those traits, but it also includes the added benefit of a ragtop for open-air fun on warm, sunny days. The result: If you want the most exciting MINI you can buy, this is it." -- AutoTrader 
  • "The 2013 Mini Cooper Roadster is anything but bland, but the only question for you is, ‘At what point does charm outweigh its flaws?’" -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "And with the top down and the pop-up rear wing deployed (at 50 mph), the roadster becomes a chunky little bulldog of a sports car with a level of c'mon-let's-play appeal that's hard to resist." -- Car and Driver (2012)
  • "The Cooper S Roadster is serious fun, but it's also serious money." -- Popular Mechanics (2012)

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Other Cars to Consider

The Ford Mustang convertible costs a bit more than the base Mini Roadster, but it offers a little more cargo space and a small back seat. The Mustang also comes with a more powerful V6 engine, and reviewers say that even the base Mustang offers impressive acceleration.

Reviewers love the Mazda MX-5 Miata’s athletic handling, and they say that the Miata has quick steering and a responsive engine. In addition, the Miata also has a lower starting price than the Mini Roadster.

Compare the Roadster, Mustang and Miata »

Details: 2014 Mini Cooper Roadster

The 2014 Mini Cooper Roadster is a two-seat, front-wheel drive convertible. A 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission are standard. The Mini Roadster comes in three trims: base, S Roadster and John Cooper Works Roadster. S Roadster and John Cooper Works models come with more powerful turbocharged engines. The Mini Cooper Roadster debuted for the 2012 model year and is basically unchanged for 2014. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from 2012 through the current model year.

See the full 2014 Mini Cooper Roadster specs »

Review Last Updated: 5/13/14

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