2016 MINI Hardtop

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$13,161–$25,281 Inventory Prices
(5.0) 9 reviews
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
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Key Specs

of the 2016 MINI Hardtop. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    26-33 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    134-hp, 1.5-liter I-3 (premium)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    6-speed manual w/OD
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Highway poise
  • Acceleration (Cooper S)
  • Responsive automatic transmission
  • Handling
  • iDrive interface
  • Adjustable cargo floor available

The Bad

  • Slot-like windshield limits view of overhead stoplights
  • Center armrest interferes with parking brake lever
  • Awkward location of iDrive controller
  • Upright reat-seat backrest
  • Limited cabin storage

Notable Features of the 2016 MINI Hardtop

  • Two- and four-door body style
  • Choice of turbocharged engines
  • Adaptive suspension available
  • Forward collision warning with auto-braking available
  • High-performance John Cooper Works version available

2016 MINI Hardtop Road Test

Mike Hanley

The verdict: The four-door 2016 Mini Hardtop retains much of the two-door's nimbleness and fun-to-drive personality, but even with extra doors and length, it's not big on carrying passengers or cargo.

Versus the competition: About the size of traditional subcompact hatchbacks but priced like larger compacts, the four-door Hardtop places a greater emphasis on style, unique controls and driving fun than either type usually does.

The modern-era Mini Cooper debuted in the U.S. more than a decade ago on the belief that smaller was better. In certain ways — like when it came to maneuverability, handling and city parking — Mini was right. Since then, Mini's range of cars has grown considerably and the names have evolved; the latest version of what was the Cooper is now called the Hardtop, which uses the Cooper moniker for trim levels. This review covers the 2016 Hardtop Cooper S four-door, which we'll refer to as the Hardtop S for clarity's sake.

Being small, however, compromised things like passenger comfort and cargo room. Mini has set about addressing this with the four-door version of the Hardtop, which rides on a stretched platform and has two extra side doors for easier access to the rear seats. Passengers back there also have 1.5 inches more legroom than they would in the two-door, and the cargo area behind them is 4.4 cubic feet larger, for a total of 13.1 cubic feet. Mini also sells a Clubman hatchback, which has four doors and is bigger ...

The verdict: The four-door 2016 Mini Hardtop retains much of the two-door's nimbleness and fun-to-drive personality, but even with extra doors and length, it's not big on carrying passengers or cargo.

Versus the competition: About the size of traditional subcompact hatchbacks but priced like larger compacts, the four-door Hardtop places a greater emphasis on style, unique controls and driving fun than either type usually does.

The modern-era Mini Cooper debuted in the U.S. more than a decade ago on the belief that smaller was better. In certain ways — like when it came to maneuverability, handling and city parking — Mini was right. Since then, Mini's range of cars has grown considerably and the names have evolved; the latest version of what was the Cooper is now called the Hardtop, which uses the Cooper moniker for trim levels. This review covers the 2016 Hardtop Cooper S four-door, which we'll refer to as the Hardtop S for clarity's sake.

Being small, however, compromised things like passenger comfort and cargo room. Mini has set about addressing this with the four-door version of the Hardtop, which rides on a stretched platform and has two extra side doors for easier access to the rear seats. Passengers back there also have 1.5 inches more legroom than they would in the two-door, and the cargo area behind them is 4.4 cubic feet larger, for a total of 13.1 cubic feet. Mini also sells a Clubman hatchback, which has four doors and is bigger and more expensive. (Compare the two- and four-door Hardtop and the Clubman here.)

We tested a four-door Hardtop S, which is powered by a more powerful turbocharged engine. It starts at $25,950, including an $850 destination charge.

Exterior & Styling
The four-door model's wheelbase is nearly 3 inches longer than the regular Hardtop's, and its overall length is about 6 inches greater. Even in this stretched form, the four-door model still has the iconic style of its two-door sibling. There's no mistaking it for anything but a Mini, though there is a tiny-bread-van look to it.

Visual cues that distinguish the Hardtop S from the base model include a hood scoop, ductwork in the front bumper to help keep the brakes cool, center-mounted exhaust tips, and standard 16-inch alloy wheels instead of 15-inch rims.

How It Drives
The sporty, tight-handling performance that's defined the modern Mini is still going strong in this third-generation car, but the overall driving experience is more refined than in previous versions of the Hardtop. The extra length and weight of the four-door model don't diminish driving fun, but you have to make do with less feedback than earlier Hardtops offered.

The Hardtop S' turbocharged four-cylinder engine is a big reason for the car's entertaining personality. It's smooth-revving and pulls the four-door up to highway speeds quickly and effortlessly.

The turbo four-cylinder also feels well-matched to the optional six-speed automatic transmission (a six-speed manual is standard). The automatic makes quick, unobtrusive shifts and kicks down quickly at highway speeds if you need to pass. This drivetrain gets an EPA-estimated 26/33/29 mpg city/highway/combined.

Sport, Mid (normal) and Green driving modes are standard, and the difference between Sport and Mid is fairly pronounced. Sport mode makes the gas pedal feel more sensitive and responsive and reduces power-steering assistance, which makes the steering wheel feel heavier.

The Hardtop S has a sport suspension that performs the same regardless of driving mode (an adaptive suspension is a $500 option).This is a firm-riding car with the sport suspension but, like the rest of the Hardtop, there's now more refinement; bumps are dealt with quickly and without any harsh impacts reaching the cabin.

Some small cars get skittish at higher speeds, but the four-door Hardtop isn't one of them. At 70 mph on the highway the car feels planted and secure, which is very much appreciated when nearly everything else on the road is bigger than you — even with the two extra doors.

Though I like the overall heft of the steering wheel, the Hardtop's electric power-steering system doesn't provide much feedback. It's disappointing in a car that's otherwise tuned to engage the driver.

Interior
Mini is one of the few brands outside the luxury segment that emphasizes unique controls in its interiors. There are real toggle switches on the dashboard and overhead console that would be regular buttons in other cars. The cabin's defining design feature, though, is the large circular element in the middle of the dash. It's ringed in lights that illuminate in concert with climate control, audio system and engine rpm changes. It also circles the optional navigation system, which has a beautiful 8.8-inch screen operated by BMW's iDrive controller. (Mini is a subsidiary of BMW.)

Not all the Hardtop's unique design cues are charming. The speedometer is part of a gauge cluster that's attached to the steering column, and it was mostly blocked from my view by the steering wheel. (There's also a digital speedometer in the trip computer that's easier to see.) Also, the parking brake bumps into the center armrest when you pull it up.

Also, while I had enough front-seat space to sit where I wanted (I'm 6-foot-1), the slot-like windshield limits visibility: Overhead stoplights are sometimes blocked from view; you have to crane your neck to see the light. A small rear window limits rearward visibility, too, though rear parking sensors and a backup camera are optional.

Backseat legroom is up 1.5 inches compared with the two-door Hardtop, but the rear seat is still not ideal for adult passengers. The rear doors are small, making it hard to get in and out, and the backrest is positioned at an upright angle that's not very comfortable. Legroom remains limited; my knees were pressed against the back of the driver's seat. Headroom, however, is good.

Ergonomics & Electronics
The iDrive-based multimedia system is fairly intuitive; it shouldn't be long before you're using the console controller to quickly navigate through the system's various menus.

The location of the controller, however, isn't great; even at the center armrest's lowest setting it's not a comfortable place to rest your arm while using the iDrive controller.

The optional 8.8-inch dashboard display's widescreen orientation makes it shorter than some competitors' screens, which are squarer, but its beautiful, crisp graphics impress. The system offers a split-screen mode, so you can see radio information and the navigation map at the same time, for instance.

It was easy to pair my iPhone to the multimedia system using Bluetooth and also to use the iDrive controller to browse songs stored on my phone. Album artwork also appears on the dashboard screen.

Cargo & Storage
The split, folding backseat isn't level with the cargo floor when lowered — there's a small ledge — but the four-door Hardtop's available adjustable cargo floor lets you hide that ledge. Its lowest setting lets you maximize the space above it, but putting it at a higher level provides hidden underfloor storage and creates a flat, extended load floor.

The four-door Hardtop has an extra 4.4 cubic feet of cargo room, for 13.1 cubic feet total. With the backseat folded there's 40.7 cubic feet of maximum cargo volume. Similarly sized (but considerably less expensive) models like the Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic hatchbacks have more room behind the backseat — 14.9 and 19 cubic feet, respectively — while the Hardtop has more maximum volume than the Fiesta (25.4 cubic feet) but less than the Sonic (47.7 cubic feet).

Cabin storage space is slim. The door pockets, center console bin and armrest storage are tiny. The glove box is small, too.

Safety
The optional Active Driving Assistant feature costs $1,000 and includes adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights and forward collision warning with automatic braking. This package also requires the Fully Loaded Package, which is around $5,000.

For a full list of safety features, see the Features & Specs page.

Value in Its Class
Mini isn't a luxury brand, but you can expect to pay a premium for its cars. Compact hatchbacks like the Mazda3, Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf are all less expensive than the four-door Hardtop, and are also a little bit bigger for more passenger and cargo room. Similarly sized subcompact hatchbacks like the Fiesta, Sonic and Toyota Yaris are significantly less expensive.

If you've always liked the two-door Hardtop but thought it was a little too small, the new four-door version brings a little more practicality without sacrificing driving fun.

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2016 Hardtop Video

Watch MotorWeek on PBS. Check your local listings for time and channel.

Latest 2016 Hardtop Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.9)
Performance
(4.8)
Interior Design
(4.8)
Comfort
(4.7)
Reliability
(5.0)
Value For The Money
(5.0)

Latest Reviews

(5.0)

Brand new, fun to drive!

by Rio from Madison WI on March 26, 2018

This is a great car. It is fun to drive and fun to get the “Mini wave” when you see another Mini. Gets good mileage as well Read full review

(5.0)

great car with great gas mileage but still sporty

by chagss from indianapolis, IN on February 12, 2018

The car has been great and aside from that Mini's customer service has always been phenomenal, it has a great sport feel while maintaining great gas mileage, only issue i have ever had was an issue ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2016 MINI Hardtop currently has 0 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2016 MINI Hardtop Cooper

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/thigh
good
Lower leg/foot
good
Overall evaluation
good
Retraints and dummy kinematics
good
Structure and safety cage
good

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
acceptable
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Structure and Safety Cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / unlimited distance

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by MINI

Program Benefits

Inspection by MINI Technician, 24/4 Roadside Assistance, covered by a MINI Certified Pre-Owned Protection Plan, backed by the nationwide network of MINI Dealers.

  • Limited Warranty

    5 Years / Unlimited Miles or 6 Years Unlimited Miles

    Covers your vehicle for 1 year with unlimited miles after the expiration of the 4-year/50,000-mile New Vehicle/SAV Limited Warranty. That’s coverage for up to a total of 5 years with unlimited miles from the vehicle’s original in service date. Additional plans are available to extend your vehicle’s coverage up to a total of 6 years with unlimited miles. Every MINI CPO also comes with 24/7 Travel Protection through MINI Roadside Assistance coverage for 1 year with unlimited miles.
  • Eligibility

    Under 5 years / 60,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a Rigorous Inspection.

    See inspection details.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Hardtop received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker