What’s New for 2018?
MINI hasn’t changed much in the exterior department - though that’s normally the case, as the MINI look is well-known at this point. Instead, they’ve added plenty of new technological features, including a standard rearview camera and parking sensors. Furthermore, small detail work has been done on the interior like a new design for the fuel gauge that’s much easier to interpret.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2018 MINI Hardtop – The Pros
1. Instantly Classic MINI Exterior
Let’s face it - one of the main reasons anyone gets a MINI is for its amazing exterior. The 2018 MINI Hardtop takes the classic exterior looks of the MINI line and propels it into a new year. Most details on the 2018 model stay the same as the previous year’s revamped hardtop, with the elegant bulldog-esque stance remaining. The trunk’s handle is nicely integrated into the rear of the car, creating a seamless line that lets your eyes glide from the front of the car to the back.
2. Turbocharged Engine Options
All engines in the 2018 MINI Hardtop are turbocharged, from the base model to the special John Cooper Works edition. The base model houses a 1.5-liter 3-cylinder turbo engine that manages an impressive 134 horsepower, enough to make this super light-weight vehicle power up hills with ease. The upgraded S trim gets a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that manages an even more impressive 189 horsepower with 207 lb-ft of torque. Finally, the John Cooper Works 2-door Hardtop has the same 2.0-liter engine but increases the output to 228 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque.
3. Sporty Suspension
To work the engine choices, MINI has fine-tuned its suspension to be nimble on the road. The base MINI and the S trim both have a fairly soft suspension, though it still has some give to allow for more sport-oriented driving. The John Cooper Works edition has a much stiffer sport suspension to match its huge engine, giving you the best road feel.
4. Retro Yet Functional Center Console
MINI’s designers have clearly spent hours of their lives trying to figure out the best interior choices for the 2018 MINI Hardtop, and it shows. The center console immediately stands out for its brilliant design. The mid-sized touchscreen sits in the middle, with retro-styled analog buttons surrounding it. The console summons the aesthetics of true classic cars.
5. 2-Door and 4-Door Options
If you aren’t sure how compact you want your car, the 2018 MINI Hardtop has plenty of options. The car comes in both two and four-door options, with the four-door Hardtop measuring six inches longer than the two-door choice. With the two-door, the front seats fold down easily to access the back seats.
6. Fancy Sport Upgrades
Though the base Hardtop feels great on the road, the upgraded trims are even better. The Cooper S and the John Cooper Works edition are both fantastic trims, offering tons of options for each upgrade. All trims can choose between a 6-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic transmission, and the S and JCW editions get a suite of active driving assistance features.
7. Great Gas Mileage
MINIs are known to barely use any gas, and the 2018 MINI Hardtop definitely just sips gas. The base model with manual transmission gets a fantastic 28 miles per gallon in the city and 38 on the highway. The upgraded John Cooper Works edition lowers that slightly as a sacrifice for its more powerful engine to 23 mpg in the city and 32 on the highway.
8. Charming Interior
Many subcompact vehicles struggle to make their interiors feel comfortable and useful at the same time. Usually, interiors are either very comfortable without offering enough utility features, or they offer too many utility features without the comfort. The 2018 MINI Hardtop manages to straddle the line, offering quite a few comfort options - particularly in the quality of the Leatherette seats - while still maintaining useful designs.
9. Great Exterior Technology
One of the new standard features in 2018 on all MINIs is the included rearview camera. The camera is piped through the large 6.5-inch infotainment system. The S and JCW trims both get tons of exterior technology, such as LED fog lights that work extremely well in low visibility conditions. They also have the option to include active driving tech, including adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning and assistance.
10. Speedy Acceleration
For such a tiny size, the Hardtop can accelerate like no other subcompact. The standard model with the 3-cylinder engine can get from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just over 7 seconds, and the two upgraded trims both can reach it much faster - around 6 seconds. The acceleration is linear and smooth with both the manual and automatic transmissions, and you can kick it into high gear right from a stop without feeling like the car is struggling.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2018 MINI Hardtop – The Cons
1. Not-So-Roomy Back Seats
Even though the 2018 MINI Hardtop does come in two and four-door options, the back seats are not particularly large. If you’re planning on longer trips, the back seats will become uncomfortable fairly quickly.
2. Audio System Not Spectacular
Some of the MINI’s functionality has been sacrificed for style, and the audio system is one of the functionalities that’s become outdated. The sub-bass can sometimes vibrate the car doors more than expected, and some of the high end sounds slightly tinny at loud volumes.
3. Lots of Road Noise at High Speeds
Another functionality that seems to be slightly forgotten about is sound dampening materials. To keep the car lightweight, the engineers did not include as much material as they could - resulting in louder cabin noise, especially at high speeds.
How It Stacks Up to the Competition
There aren’t too many coupes that could even compete with the MINI, but the ones that do are definitely lacking in some aspects. Cars like the 2018 Honda Civic and the Mercedes-Benz C and E classes don’t feel as good on the road and don’t look as good either.
If you’re looking for an amazing, instantly recognizable subcompact car or coupe then the 2018 MINI Hardtop is the perfect choice for you. With sport-oriented driving and brilliant exterior styling, this car will make you very happy on the road.
• Why buy a 2017 MINI Hardtop? w/ pros vs cons