2019 MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door vs. 2019 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo

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 Sentra SR Turbo doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

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 Sentra SR Turbo 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 Sentra SR Turbo have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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 and rearview cameras.

Warranty

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Sentra SR Turbo’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Sentra SR Turbo’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. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Sentra SR Turbo.

Reliability

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 Sentra SR Turbo’s 110-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 15 points higher than the Sentra SR Turbo.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that MINI vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks MINI 5 places higher in reliability than Nissan.

Engine

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door S’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 1 more horsepower (189 vs. 188) and 30 lbs.-ft. more torque (207 vs. 177) than the Sentra SR Turbo’s 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Sentra SR Turbo 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 Sentra SR Turbo doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

To help the driver achieve optimum performance and fuel economy, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has a standard up-shift light to indicate when to shift based on power needs and conditions. The Sentra SR Turbo doesn’t offer an up-shift light.

A standard “hill holder” feature keeps the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door with manual transmission from rolling backwards on a steep slope. The Sentra SR Turbo doesn’t offer a hill holder feature.

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 Sentra SR Turbo 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 Sentra SR Turbo doesn’t offer a downshift rev synchronizer.

Tires and Wheels

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Sentra NISMO’s 45 series tires.

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 Sentra SR Turbo doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

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 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

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 Sentra SR Turbo’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

Chassis

The MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 150 to 250 pounds less than the Nissan Sentra SR Turbo.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is 2 feet, 1.1 inches shorter than the Sentra SR Turbo, making the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

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 Sentra SR Turbo doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has .5 inches more front headroom and .8 inches more rear headroom than the Sentra SR Turbo.

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

Cargo Capacity

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s hatch uses gas strut supported hinges that don’t intrude into the cargo area. The Sentra SR Turbo’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.

Servicing Ease

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Sentra SR Turbo 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.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Sentra SR Turbo doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

A Service Interval Indicator is standard on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes and brake pad replacement, vehicle inspection based on actual driving conditions. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Nissan doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Sentra SR Turbo.

Ergonomics

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 Sentra SR Turbo doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s front power windows open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Sentra SR Turbo’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

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 Sentra SR Turbo can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 Sentra SR Turbo’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 Sentra SR Turbo doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has a standard rear wiper. The Sentra SR Turbo doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

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 Sentra SR Turbo 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 Sentra SR Turbo 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 Sentra SR Turbo doesn’t offer a secondary sun visor.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Sentra SR Turbo’s power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

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 Sentra SR Turbo’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 Sentra SR Turbo offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

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 Sentra SR Turbo 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 Sentra SR Turbo doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The MINI Cooper comes in convertible, two-door hatchback and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Nissan Sentra SR Turbo isn’t available as a two-door or convertible.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door will cost $1790 to $3145 less than the Sentra SR Turbo over a five-year period.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door will retain 44.48% to 46.21% of its original price after five years, while the Sentra SR Turbo only retains 39.61% to 40.58%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door will be $4472 to $5509 less than for the Nissan Sentra SR Turbo.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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 Sentra SR Turbo isn’t in the top three.

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

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