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One of the best-sellers in its class, the MINI Hardtop is hard to dislike. And the new 2019 MINI Hardtop is no exception to that rule. The Hardtop gives its buyers a lot of choices for how they want to configure their vehicle, right down to whether they want a two- or four-door model.
As a part of the third generation of Hardtops introduced back in 2014, you would think that the Hardtop would be in dire need of a revamp by now, but that's just not the case. MINI has done a thorough job of giving the Hardtop the necessary revisions and additions each model year. This year, the Hardtop gets new sub-trims in the form of the Classic, Signature, and Iconic. (This is on top of the three main trims: the Cooper, Cooper S, and John Cooper Works.) A lot of the options have been changed around on these sub-trims, and for the better. The infotainment system also gets an upgrade, and Apple CarPlay and a wireless charging pad have been added as standard features.
The Hardtop has a lot to offer, from its range of fuel-efficient engines to its athletic handling capabilities. While it does price above a lot of the competition and has a lackluster manual transmission, the Hardtop offers a ton of options for customization, inside and out, regardless of which trim level you buy.
So, which trim level and sub-trim is the best fit for your unique needs? Which one has the right customization options for you? Read on through to the end of this comparison review, and, by then, you should have a clearer notion of which 2019 MINI Hardtop trim level you should invest your hard-earned money in. For the purpose of this review, we will look at the 2-Door Hardtop, but we do advise that you also consider the 4-Door version if you need the extra space.
Compare the 2019 MINI Hardtop Cooper vs Cooper S. What is the difference?
The Cooper is the 2019 MINI Hardtop's base trim level. It is powered by a 1.5-L twin-turbo inline-3 engine that is able to generate 134 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. It gets about 30 combined mpg with the optional 6-speed automatic transmission and 32 mpg combined with the standard 6-speed manual transmission. The manual gets the vehicle from 0 to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds while the automatic is ever-so-slightly faster at 7.3 seconds.
The Cooper weighs in at 2,625 pounds of curb weight with the manual transmission and 2,690 on the automatic. It is 151.1 inches in length and is 76.1 inches wide when you include the mirrors. The wheelbase is 98.2 inches, and the vehicle sits at 55.7 inches in height. The 8.7 cubic feet of cargo space can be maxed out to 34 cubic feet when you fold the rear seats down. Up front, the driver and passenger get 41.4 inches of leg room, 50.6 inches of shoulder room, and 40.3 inches of head room. In the rear, passengers get 30.8 inches of leg room, 47.8 inches of shoulder room, and 36.9 inches of head room. In other words, the cabin does feel kind of small, but it is roomier than quite a few of its competitors.
Up one level is the Cooper S. The Cooper S receives its power from a twin-turbo 2.0-L inline-4 engine that generates 189 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. Like the Cooper, it comes with a standard 6-speed manual transmission but has the option for a 6-speed automatic transmission. It gets 26 combined mpg on the manual transmission and 28 combined mpg on the automatic. With the boost in horsepower and torque, the Cooper S is able to accelerate a bit faster than the Cooper. It can go from 0 to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds with the manual transmission equipped and in 6.5 seconds on the automatic.
There is a little bit more bulk to the Cooper S, as it has a curb weight of 2,785 pounds on the manual version and 2,825 pounds on the automatic. Build-wise, the measurements are mostly the same, save for the fact that the Cooper S is .8 inch longer than the Cooper.
Compare the 2019 Hardtop Cooper S vs John Cooper Works. What is the difference?
If you really want something powerful, the line-topping John Cooper Works (JCW for short) trim level is it. This trim is equipped with a tweaked version of the Cooper S's engine that nets it a solid 228 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. This dramatically changes the way the Hardtop performs, giving it a faster acceleration speed (6.1 seconds on the manual and 5.9 seconds on the optional 6-speed sport automatic with shifter paddles) without dragging the fuel economy down any.
Of course, the JCW trim does weigh a little bit more. It has a curb weight of 2,845 pounds on the manual and 2,885 on the automatic. It is also 152.5 inches in length, making it the longest of the three trims.
Compare the Hardtop Classic vs Signature - What is the difference?
The three sub-trims are all about appearances and creature comforts. At the start of the Hardtop's sub-trim list is the Classic. This gives you the choice of four body paint colors (Midnight Black, Moonwalk Grey, Pepper White, and Chili Red). Body-colored roof and side mirror caps come standard, and you can get roof rails and your choice of white or black bonnet stripes. There is also prepping on the rear for a mounted bicycle rack.
On the inside of the Classic, you get standard heating for the front seats, which are clad in Carbon Black leatherette. The sport steering wheel is wrapped in leather and has multiple controls mounted onto it for the driver's convenience. The surfaces are set in Hazy Grey while the color line is done in Carbon Black to match the seats. Ambient lighting adorns the cabin, and you get a handful of helpful infotainment and safety features to top it all off. For example, an on-board computer and rear park distance control come standard, and there is a trial subscription available for SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
Moving on up to the Signature sub-trim gets you a whopping six more body color choices. You can go for Emerald Grey, Solaris Orange, Melting Silver, White Silver, Starlight Blue, or Electric Blue if the four colors from the Classic don't appeal to you. You can also choose between a roof and side mirror caps that are body-colored, white, or black. There are options for 16-inch victory spoke or loop spoke wheels, and all-season tires come equipped. Additionally, you can opt for white turns signals if you so desire.
On the inside, there are even more standard features that have been added. The Signature's cabin is given anthracite headliner and the option to swap out the Hazy Grey surface in favor of Piano Black Illuminated or Fiber Alloy. You can also choose from three additional color lines (Malt Brown, Satellite Grey, and Glowing Red). You do get upgraded to a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, a built-in alarm system, a universal garage door opener with an included compass, the Premium Package, and the Touchscreen Navigation Package, which adds voice commanded navigation to your vehicle's infotainment set-up.
Compare the Hardtop Signature vs Iconic Trims. What is the difference?
Last, but certainly far from being the least, is the line-topping Iconic sub-trim. This sub-trim level adds one body paint color (Lapisluxury Blue) to your list of customization options. Like the Signature, you can choose between body-colored, white, or black side cap mirrors and a roof on the Iconic. You can also choose between the standard exterior trim and a chrome line exterior. The LED headlights also have cornering lights integrated. In addition to both 16-inch wheel options, you can choose between 17-inch Rail, Propeller, Roulette, Tentacle, and Cosmos (in black or grey) Spoke alloy wheels.
On the interior, you can get Black Pearl leatherette/cloth, Carbon Black cross-punch leather, Satellite Grey lounge leather, Malt Brown Chesterfield leather, or Carbon Black MINI Yours lounge leather. There is also a special JCW leather-clad steering wheel that comes equipped. You can also choose whether or not you want to include chrome line interior trim. And, with regard to safety and infotainment features, you get the creme de la creme of what MINI has to offer: Apple CarPlay compatibility, an active driving assistant, and an upgraded 8.8-inch touchscreen display. Also, there is a stellar Harman Kardon premium sound system available if you want to hear your music with concert-like quality.
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