Cars.com caught wind of the Mini Cooper Hardtop’s lowered fuel-economy ratings a few weeks ago while, coincidentally, a 2014 Mini Cooper S with a manual transmission sat in our test fleet. Talk about good timing. With the story unfolding, our goal was to put the Mini’s impressive ratings to the test because the original 25/38/29 mpg city/highway/combined ratings were a big perk of the wildly entertaining hatchback.
After an EPA audit, our test car’s original rating of 25/38/29 mpg dropped to 24/34/28 mpg. A 1 mpg drop in combined ratings isn’t a significant adjustment, but the 4-mpg ding of the highway rating is a biggie for cruisers. As it turns out, the highway fuel economy was one of the more interesting observations in our test.
When other automakers adjusted mileage numbers based on an EPA audit, we’ve at least had an inclination something was amiss. The less-than-stellar Ford Fusion Hybrid fuel economy we observed was substantiated when the EPA corrected the car’s rating from 47 mpg combined to 42 mpg.
We ran a tank of premium fuel through the Cooper S and averaged 28.7 mpg after 274.6 miles, according to the trip computer, which we prefer using for shorter mileage tests like these. The pump fill-up calculation was 27.7 mpg. Our driving style started off “spirited” — to put it mildly — with the car predominantly in Sport mode for a comparison drive with the 2015 Volkswagen GTI. After romping on both cars, the Mini managed a respectable 24 mpg after the aggressive driving.
Where the Mini made up the 4 mpg to the final 28.7 mpg number was at highway speeds where I observed real-time mileage readings from the trip computer in the high 30s to low 40s. Driving modes varied between Normal and Green modes at 60-70 mph during the 70-mile jaunt.
We don’t have a dynamometer or computer simulations to replicate EPA procedure, but in our driving, the Cooper S provided no indication it was no longer rated at 38 mpg highway.
Cars.com photo by Anastasia Page