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2014 Kia Forte, White, 12 mi., $19,315
Review of the 2012 MINI Cooper
IntroductionThe 2012 MINI Cooper models receives a slight increase in power output, modified steering for reduced torque steer under hard acceleration, minor cosmetic changes inside and out, optional adaptive headlights, reworked radio controls, standard HD and satellite radio, and added sound insulation compared to the older MINI Cooper. The front-wheel drive MINI's compact size, good fuel economy, and cute styling make it a trendy choice for young urban motorists. The JCW (John Cooper Works) special edition comes with performance suspension, sport seats, chrome tailpipes, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Produced by BMW, the MINI Cooper is a small two-door, four-passenger car, offered in both coupe and convertible versions. Available in Cooper and Cooper S trims, where the Cooper S has a sportier suspension set-up.
Exterior Design and Special FeaturesThe MINI Cooper received a total makeover in 2007 and was updated with more power, a more muscular look, and new features. A new ignition button replaces the conventional key-start; new ambient illumination and a larger center speedometer include a new range of functions. The exterior features chrome accents, a new hexagon radiator grille, and new indicator lights which are fully integrated in the headlights. The front overhang and nose were reshaped to be more pedestrian-friendly in the event of a collision. The MINI is built to provide a lot of interior space and has cargo space of up to 5.7 cubic feet with the rear seat up. Standard features include metal-looking instrument panel insert; door panel insert; console insert; leather/chrome shift knob; leather/metal-look steering wheel; manual air conditioning with air filter; AM/FM/Satellite-capable with seek-scan; single in-dash CD player with 6 speakers/MP3/radio data/auto theft deterrent; power windows with driver and passenger 1-touch down; keyfob (all doors) remote keyless entry; illuminated entry; integrated key/remote; auto-locking doors; keyfob door release; remote window controls; front bucket seats; 6-way driver and passenger seat adjustments; rear 50-50 bench seat; sport steering wheel with manual tilting and telescoping; day-night rearview mirror; cup holders; overhead console; floor console; door bins; rear window defroster; and two 12V DC power outlets.
EngineThe MINI Cooper's power train was updated to a more state-of-the-art condition in compliance with new regulations. Under the hood of the Cooper is a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine that delivers 121 horsepower and 114 lb-ft. of torque teamed with a standard 6-speed Getrag manual transmission and an optional six-speed automatic. A 172-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four-cylinder engine with 177 pounds-feet of torque motivates the Cooper S. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 29 mpg city/37 mpg highway and 32 mpg combined with the manual (27/35/31 convertible) and 28/36/31 with the automatic. The short wheelbase and wheels at the far corners of the body allow for excellent handling and precise steering.
SafetyStandard safety features include four-wheel ABS brakes; 4 ABS channels; brake assist; four-wheel disc brakes; front ventilated disc brakes; daytime running lights; compact spare tire; under-body mounted spare tire; driver and passenger front-impact airbags; seat-mounted driver and passenger side-impact airbags; curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbag; front passenger airbag occupancy sensor; height adjustable front seat belts; front seatbelt pretensioners; locking fuel flap included with power door locks; side-impact bars; tailgate/rear door lock included with power doors; ignition disable and security system pre-wiring.