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MINI Cooper Hardtop faces recall after failing side-impact crash tests

Intrusion of the left rear door caused the dummy to record lower-spine acceleration in excess of 82 g.

MINI's latest Cooper Hardtop three-door hatchback has been recalled after failing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's side-impact crash test.

NHTSA test documents suggest intrusion of the rear door during the side-impact test caused the door panel to strike the rear dummy passenger's torso. The agency recorded lower-spine accelerations in excess of 82 g, indicating a high likelihood of injury.

The agency initially found the standard Cooper Hardtop to be compliant, however a slight variance caused the sportier S trim to fail. The maximum T12-vertebrae acceleration allowance is set at 82 g, and the S variant failed by a margin of less than 1 g.

Parent BMW decided to issue a recall for the 2014-2015 Cooper Hardtop and Hardtop S, along with the John Cooper Works edition. Technicians will install additional energy-absorption material between the rear interior side panels and the exterior vehicle body to help improve performance in the side-impact test.

The same model achieved 'good' ratings in all of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests, including the challenging small-overlap trial.

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