2019 MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door vs. 2019 Nissan Versa Note

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 Versa Note doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Versa Note doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

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 Versa Note 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 Versa Note 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 Versa Note’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 Versa Note’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 Versa Note.

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 Versa Note’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 28 points higher than the Versa Note.

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 1.5 turbo 3 cyl. produces 25 more horsepower (134 vs. 109) and 55 lbs.-ft. more torque (162 vs. 107) than the Versa Note’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door S’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 80 more horsepower (189 vs. 109) and 100 lbs.-ft. more torque (207 vs. 107) than the Versa Note’s 1.6 DOHC 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 Versa Note 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 Versa Note doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door higher (7 out of 10) than the Nissan Versa Note (3 to 5). This means the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Versa Note every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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 Versa Note doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Versa Note:

 

Cooper

Cooper S

Versa Note

Front Rotors

11 inches

11.6 inches

10.02 inches

Rear Rotors

10.2 inches

10.2 inches

8” drums

The MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the Versa Note. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Versa Note (205/45R17 vs. 195/55R16).

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 Versa Note SR’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door offers optional 18-inch wheels. The Versa Note’s largest wheels are only 16-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 Nissan Versa Note 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 Versa Note 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 Versa Note 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 Versa Note’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

Chassis

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is 5.6 inches shorter than the Versa Note, making the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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

Cargo Capacity

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has a larger trunk with its rear seat folded than the Versa Note with its rear seat folded (40.7 vs. 38.3 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Versa Note 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 Versa Note doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

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 Versa Note 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 Versa Note doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s standard power windows allow the driver or passenger to lower and raise the windows without leaning over or being distracted. Power windows are only available on the Versa Note SV/SR.

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 Versa Note SV/SR’s power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens 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 Versa Note can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s standard power locks allow the driver or passenger to lock or unlock all the doors at a touch without leaning over, or reaching to the back seat. Power locks are only available on the Versa Note SV/SR.

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 Versa Note’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 Versa Note 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 Versa Note 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 Versa Note 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 Versa Note 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 Versa Note doesn’t offer a secondary sun visor.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan only offers heated mirrors on the Versa Note SL.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Versa Note’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 Versa Note’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 Versa Note 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 Versa Note doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s optional automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Versa Note doesn’t offer automatic 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 Versa Note 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 Versa Note 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 Versa 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 $605 to $1495 less than the Versa Note over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is less expensive to operate than the Versa Note because typical repairs cost less on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door than the Versa Note, including $75 less for fuel injection.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Nissan Versa Note 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 Versa Note isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

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