NEWS

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

More Car Seat Checks

What We Like

  • It’s a short list: The forward-facing convertible fit well in the Mini, and we were able to easily connect to the tether anchor, which is midway down the rear seatback.

What We Don’t

  • The two sets of lower Latch anchors in this four-seater are found behind flip-up plastic covers, but the anchors sit so deep into the openings that it’s surprisingly difficult to use them.
  • It’s no surprise that we had to move the front passenger seat nearly all the way forward to fit the rear-facing infant seat behind it. The 5-foot-8 tester’s knees were pressed firmly into the glove box.
  • The rear seats are steeply sloped, so we had to use a rolled towel to help get our rear-facing convertible’s base to sit at the proper angle. We also had to move the front passenger seat forward to fit this car seat; our tester had more room than with the infant seat but was not comfortable.
  • The Mini’s backseat has large side bolsters that pushed our booster seat, causing it to sit at an angle. They also pushed the booster up against the seat belt buckle, making it tough to use. The biggest problem for most kids, though, will be the lack of rear legroom. There’s just no place for kids to put their legs unless they sit cross-legged.
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Grading Scale

A: Plenty of room for the car seat and the child; doesn’t impact driver or front-passenger legroom. Easy to find and connect to Latch and tether anchors. No fit issues involving head restraint or seat contouring. Easy access to the third row.

B: Plenty of room. One fit or connection issue. Some problems accessing third row when available.

C: Marginal room. Two fit or connection issues. Difficult to access third row when available.

D: Insufficient room. Two or more fit or connection issues.

F: Does not fit or is unsafe.

About Cars.com’s Car Seat Checks

Editors Jennifer Newman and Matt Schmitz are certified child safety seat installation technicians. Editor Jennifer Geiger is working on renewing her certification.

For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide Classic Connect 30 infant-safety seat, a Britax Marathon convertible seat and Graco TurboBooster seat. The front seats are adjusted for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver’s seat, and the infant and convertible seats are installed behind the front passenger seat.

We also install the forward-facing convertible in the second row’s middle seat with the booster and infant seat in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit; a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. If there’s a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible. To learn more about how we conduct our Car Seat Checks, go here.

Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat, and that Latch anchors have a weight limit of 65 pounds, including the weight of the child and the weight of the seat itself.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears

Photo of Jennifer Newman
Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Newman is a journalist with more than 25 years of experience, including 15 years as an automotive journalist at Cars.com. Jennifer leads the Editorial team in its mission of helping car shoppers find the vehicle that best fits their life. A mom of two, she’s graduated from kids in car seats to teens behind the steering wheel. She’s also a certified car-seat technician with more than 12 years of experience, as well as member of the World Car Jury, Automotive Press Association and Midwest Automotive Media Association. LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennilnewman/ Instagram: @jennilnewman Email Jennifer Newman

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