2019 MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door vs. 2019 Fiat 500

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door offers optional City Safety, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The 500 doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has standard Park Distance Control to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or, optionally, in front of the vehicle. The 500 doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door offers optional MINI Connected, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The 500 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 Cooper Hardtop 4 Door and the 500 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

Warranty

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the 500’s (12 vs. 5 years).

MINI pays for scheduled maintenance on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door for 3 years and 36,000 miles. MINI will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Fiat doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the 500.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the 500’s camshaft. If the 500’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has a standard 150-amp alternator. The 500’s 120-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s reliability 34 points higher than the 500.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that MINI vehicles are more reliable than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 17th in reliability. With 39 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 29th.

Engine

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has more powerful engines than the 500:

 

Horsepower

Torque

Cooper Hardtop 4 Door 1.5 turbo 3 cyl.

134 HP

162 lbs.-ft.

Cooper Hardtop 4 Door S 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

189 HP

207 lbs.-ft.

500 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

135 HP

150 lbs.-ft.

500 Abarth 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

157 HP

183 lbs.-ft.

500 Abarth 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

160 HP

170 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door gets better fuel mileage than the 500

 

 

 

MPG

Cooper Hardtop 4 Door

 

Manual

1.5 turbo 3 cyl.

28 city/37 hwy

 

Auto

1.5 turbo 3 cyl.

27 city/35 hwy

 

 

S 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

25 city/32 hwy

500

 

Manual

1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

28 city/33 hwy

 

 

Abarth 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

28 city/33 hwy

 

Auto

1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

24 city/32 hwy

 

 

Abarth 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

24 city/32 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The 500 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door Auto’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The 500 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has 1.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the 500 (11.6 vs. 10.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

A six-speed manual is standard on the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door, with closer gear ratios for better performance and a lower final drive ratio for quieter highway operation, less engine wear and better fuel mileage. Only a five-speed manual is available for the 500.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door S Auto’s optional launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The 500 doesn’t offer launch control.

The MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door manual has a downshift rev synchronizer that automatically raises engine speed to make downshifts perfectly smooth. This keeps the car from lurching during downshifts, preventing loss of control during cornering. The 500 doesn’t offer a downshift rev synchronizer.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door S’ brake rotors are larger than those on the 500:

 

Cooper S

500

Front Rotors

11.6 inches

11.1 inches

Rear Rotors

10.2 inches

9.4 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door offers optional 18-inch wheels. The 500’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.

The MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Fiat 500 only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The 500 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door Base has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the 500; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Fiat 500 has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door flat and controlled during cornering. The 500 base model’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The 500’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s wheelbase is 10.5 inches longer than on the 500 (101.1 inches vs. 90.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is 3.4 inches wider in the front and 3.8 inches wider in the rear than the track on the 500.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (59.5% to 40.5%) than the 500’s (64% to 36%). This gives the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the 500’s (36.2 feet vs. 37.6 feet).

Chassis

The design of the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door amounts to more than styling. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door offers aerodynamic coefficients of drag from .28 to .31 Cd (depending on bodystyle and options). That is significantly lower than the 500 (.352 to .362) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door get better fuel mileage.

The front grille of the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The 500 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has standard seating for 5 passengers; the 500 can only carry 4.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has 8.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 500 (84 vs. 75.5).

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has 1 inch more front headroom, .7 inches more front legroom, 1.8 inches more front shoulder room, 1.9 inches more rear headroom, .6 inches more rear legroom and 3.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the 500.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s rear seats recline. The 500’s rear seats don’t recline.

Servicing Ease

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The 500 uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The 500 doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The 500 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s front power windows open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The 500’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s standard power window controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 500’s available power window controls are spread out on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

If the windows are left open on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the 500 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Start/Stop Switch standard on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door allows you to start the engine without removing a key from pocket or purse (optional Comfort Access will also allow unlocking the driver’s door and trunk without taking your keys out). The Fiat 500 doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The 500 doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The 500’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The 500 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The 500 doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The 500 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The 500 doesn’t offer cornering lights.

To better shield the driver’s vision, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has a standard dual-element sun visor that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The 500 doesn’t offer a secondary sun visor.

To shield the driver’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side window, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has a standard extendable sun visor. The 500 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

When the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The 500’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The 500 offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s optional dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The 500 doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door offers an optional Active Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The 500 doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The 500 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The MINI Cooper comes in convertible, two-door hatchback and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Fiat 500 isn’t available as a four door.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is less expensive to operate than the 500 because typical repairs cost less on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door than the 500, including $194 less for fuel injection.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Fiat 500 isn't recommended.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door first among compact sporty cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The 500 isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

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