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2022 MINI Hardtop Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons.

2022 MINI Hardtop Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: Cooper vs Cooper S and SE, John Cooper Works, Classic vs Signature vs Iconic

What 2022 MINI Hardtop Trim Should You Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

The smallest vehicle in the MINI line-up is also its staple - the Hardtop 2-door. When you think of a MINI Cooper, this is probably the visual that comes to mind. Petite yet powerful, the 2022 MINI Hardtop 2-door is a hatchback with four seats, although the two rear seats are considerably impractical for seating human beings (even kids).

Since its third generation was released in 2014, not a lot has changed on the Hardtop. But the 2022 has been given some much-needed updates that bring the Hardtop into the 2020s. This year, you will notice some restyled front and rear bumpers on the exterior of the Hardtop, which serve to make this vehicle look a little more contemporary. The Hardtop retains much of its shape and personality, but you do now have the choice of equipping a multi-color roof with black-painted exterior trim for a seriously chic style.

Also, this year sees some highly anticipated tech upgrades. A bigger (8.8-inch, to be more precise) infotainment touchscreen system has been introduced as a standard feature, as has a cool new digital instrumentation panel. No more small touchscreen and bland analog systems - a major advance as far as MINI is concerned. They seem to have rummaged through parent company BMW's parts bin and found some nifty new tech features, and the best part is that you can stick with the base trim and sub-trim in order to get them. No expensive upgrades necessary.

The most attractive aspect of owning the 2022 MINI Hardtop is its impressive fuel economy delivered from a surprisingly powerful engine. The base Cooper's turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine puts forth 134 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque, which bodes well enough for city driving. Opting up to the Cooper S's turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine gets a nice boost of power with its 189 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. If you upgrade to the John Cooper Works (which we will refer to as JCW from here on out), you get a tweaked 2.0-liter engine that produces a thrilling 228 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. There's no denying the fun in that engine. But more practical, eco-minded buyers can go for the Cooper SE all-electric model, which has a 181-hp electric motor
and gets a total of 110 miles of electric range.

The downsides of owning the 2022 MINI Hardtop are probably pretty obvious. This vehicle isn't just small - it is MINI small. The rear seats are basically just there for extra cargo storage (which you will need). And the gas-powered Hardtop 2-door is pricier than most of its rivals. Also, the bigger you go in wheel size, the choppier the ride quality will become.

Still, if you want a small vehicle that you can personalize, you can make the MINI Hardtop truly yours. Let's take a look at the different ways that you can customize your 2022 MINI Hardtop, making it MINI yours. There are four main trim levels (the Cooper, Cooper S, Cooper SE, and JCW) and three sub-trims (Classic, Signature, and Iconic) that you can mix and match, customizing with a multitude of options that we will go over in this comparison review.


Compare the Cooper vs Cooper S. What is the difference?

First up is the 2022 MINI Hardtop Cooper, which is the base main trim. It is followed up by the Cooper S. The main difference between the main trims is the powertrain, so you will have to decide which sub-trim you want to enrich your vehicle with features. The Hardtop Cooper is powered by the 134-hp turbo 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine. You can stick with the standard six-speed manual transmission or opt for the seven-speed automatic transmission if you aren't into driving a stick.

This trim rides atop 15-inch alloy wheels, which are the smallest size you can get. (Remember, the larger the wheel size, the choppier the ride quality will get.) The Cooper has heated side mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and simulated leather upholstered seats. Additionally, the Cooper comes with the newly standard 8.8-inch touchscreen display, the digital instrumentation panel, and forward collision mitigation (which will warn you of a potential oncoming collision and will apply the brakes if it detects that you won't be able to do so in time).

As mentioned above, the Cooper S trim level is powered by a turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Additional drive modes come equipped on this trim level, as do bigger 16-inch alloy wheels. Inside, you get upgraded to sport seats.

Compare the Cooper S vs Cooper SE Trims. What is the difference?

The Cooper SE is a lot like the Cooper S trim level, expect for the fact that it is an all-electric powertrain. It has that 181-hp generating electric motor that allows the vehicle to get 110 miles of all electric range. You will be able to add packages and your preferred sub-trim to this main trim level, just as you would be able to with any of the gas-powered trim level options.

Compare the Cooper SE vs John Cooper Works. What is the difference?

Finally, we have the line-topping John Cooper Works (JCW) main trim level. This is the most powerful option, giving you a strong turbo 2.0-liter engine that results in 228 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. Additionally, you get LED headlights and 17-inch wheels on the exterior. A sport suspension gives you a stiffer ride quality than the lower trim levels, and inside, you get upgraded sport seats for the enhanced sporty vibe.

Compare the Classic vs Signature Trims. What is the difference?

Let's move on to the "meat" of the Hardtop - the sub-trims. Starting things off is the standard issue Classic sub-trim level. Unless you select one of the two higher sub-trim levels, you will get the Classic. The Classic sub-trim starts you off with the new 8.8-inch touchscreen with its connected media system, including remote and connected services. You also get a six-speaker sound system with an AM/FM radio, HD radio, and SiriusXM satellite radio that comes with a 12-month trial subscription. There is also the MINI central instrumentation panel with a chic LED ring, Bluetooth connectivity for cell phone and audio streaming, and the new multifunctional digital instrument display.

As far as comfort and convenience features go, the Classic is well equipped with features. Standard creature comforts include a multifunctional sport steering wheel that is wrapped in leather, Rear Park Distance Control, and a front center armrest. The front passenger and driver seats are manually adjustable six different ways, and the rear seatback is 60/40 split-folding. You also get floor mats in the first and second rows.

The Classic comes with a relatively traditional array of safety features, although it might leave you wanting a few more driver aids. The Classic is equipped with eight airbags, including those for the side curtain and front knee airbags. You also get the Active Driving Assistant with Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning, but that is the extent of the advanced driver aids on the Classic. There are also LED headlights with bad weather lights and special LED Union Jack taillights, a rear view camera, Teleservices and Emergency Call features for when you need them, a LATCH Child Seat Restraint System, and a tire pressure monitoring system. On top of all that, you get automatic modes for the headlights and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

The mid-tier sub-trim level is known as the Signature. This sub-trim level adds $4,000 to the price of the vehicle and makes the cost pretty justifiable with how much it adds. It includes everything from the Classic but adds more options to the selection of paint colors and contrast roof/mirrors. There are 16-inch alloy wheels and a panoramic moonroof added to the exterior of the Hardtop.

Inside, you get more creature comforts. The Signature adds on heating to the front seats. You also get to opt for the 7-Speed dual clutch transmission. Comfort Access keyless entry comes standard on this sub-trim, as does dual-zone automatic climate control. The cabin features ambient interior lighting and adds a storage package for additional small item storage areas.

Compare the Signature vs Iconic Trims. What is the difference?

The line-topping Iconic sub-trim level costs an extra $8,000 over the cost of the vehicle, and it wraps a lot of new options and features into that cost. The Iconic gives you the choice of equipping 16- or 17-inch wheels and gives you a larger selection of premium leather upholstery for the interior.

Inside of the Iconic, you get some nifty tech upgrades that should appeal to the tech-savvy buyer. There is an upgraded Touchscreen Navigation Plus package that features built-in navigation and voice recognition. Up front, there is a heated Nappa leather steering wheel for additional comfort while driving. This trim level is compatible with Apple CarPlay, but, sorry Android users, Android Auto is not available at all on the MINI. You do, however, get wireless charging for your smartphone and the MINI Heads Up Display, which projects important vehicle information onto the windshield in front of your eyes. To top it all off, there is a Harman Kardon premium sound system that pumps crystal clear sound throughout the Hardtop's cabin.


Final Thoughts

Out of all the available configurations for the 2022 MINI Hardtop, which one is going to suit your needs the best? Trying to piece your MINI Hardtop together can certainly be fun since there are so many ways you can customize it, making this car truly, uniquely yours. But the choices you make will determine how the next (we are guessing) 10-plus years of ownership will go.

Here is what we recommend doing if you are settled on buying the Hardtop: Go for the Cooper S main trim level. It has that punch 2.0-L turbo engine that gives the Cooper S the momentum it needs and the excitement the average driver will want. The upgraded sport seats are a really nice bonus on it too.

Along with that, we recommend that you put the mid-tier Signature sub-trim level on the Cooper S. This gives you helpful features like the LED lighting system and automatic emergency braking with the forward collision mitigation system. These are just some of the features that buyers are looking for that the Signature dishes out. The panoramic sunroof and larger wheels are nice but unnecessary, so with the Signature, it really boils down to getting those handy driver aids and extra creature comforts.

Overall, the 2022 MINI Hardtop is a spunky little vehicle with a big personality. Each one is slightly different because each owner is slightly different. You can tinker around with customizations for hours on end until you finally get the vehicle of your dreams. While this vehicle is small in size, it delivers in a lot of other ways - that is, if you configure it just right.

Previous Year Trim Configurations:

2021 MINI Hardtop Trime Levels