2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata vs. 2019 MINI Cooper Convertible

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The MX-5 Miata’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Cooper Convertible doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The MX-5 Miata’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Cooper Convertible doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the MX-5 Miata’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Cooper Convertible doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The MX-5 Miata has standard E911 Automatic Emergency Notification, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Cooper Convertible doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the MX-5 Miata and the Cooper Convertible have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available crash mitigating brakes.

Warranty

Mazda’s powertrain warranty covers the MX-5 Miata 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than MINI covers the Cooper Convertible. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the Cooper Convertible ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 5 times as many Mazda dealers as there are MINI dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the MX-5 Miata’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than MINI vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 14th in reliability. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, MINI is ranked 17th.

Engine

The MX-5 Miata’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 47 more horsepower (181 vs. 134) than the Cooper Convertible’s standard 1.5 turbo 3 cyl.

Brakes and Stopping

The MX-5 Miata stops shorter than the Cooper Convertible:

 

MX-5 Miata

Cooper Convertible

 

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

163 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the MX-5 Miata has larger standard tires than the Cooper Convertible (195/50R16 vs. 175/65R15).

The MX-5 Miata Sport’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Cooper Convertible’s standard 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the MX-5 Miata Sport has standard 16-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Cooper Convertible.

Suspension and Handling

The MX-5 Miata’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.4% to 49.6%) than the Cooper Convertible’s (60.6% to 39.4%). This gives the MX-5 Miata more stable handling and braking.

The MX-5 Miata Club handles at .90 G’s, while the Cooper Convertible pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the MX-5 Miata’s turning circle is 4.6 feet tighter than the Cooper Convertible’s (30.8 feet vs. 35.4 feet).

Chassis

The Mazda MX-5 Miata may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 to 550 pounds less than the MINI Cooper Convertible.

The MX-5 Miata is 7.1 inches shorter in height than the Cooper Convertible, making the MX-5 Miata much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

The MX-5 Miata's optional power retractable hardtop allows a seamless transition from an open car, to a completely sealed coupe. The Cooper Convertible doesn’t offer a retractable hardtop.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the MX-5 Miata is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Cooper Convertible. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

The MX-5 Miata’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children from operating them. MINI does not offer a locking feature on the Cooper Convertible’s power windows.

Advanced Keyless Entry and Start standard on the MX-5 Miata allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The MINI Cooper Convertible’s Start/Stop Switch doesn’t unlock the doors or the trunk.

The Cooper Convertible’s optional cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The MX-5 Miata Grand Touring’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the MX-5 Miata owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the MX-5 Miata will cost $315 less than the Cooper Convertible over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Mazda MX-5 Miata will be $22 to $776 less than for the MINI Cooper Convertible.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the MX-5 Miata second among compact sporty cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Cooper Convertible isn’t in the top three.

The MX-5 Miata was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 15 of the last 27 years. The Cooper Convertible has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The MX-5 Miata was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 8 of the last 24 years. The Cooper Convertible has never been an “All Star.”

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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