2019 MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door vs. 2019 Toyota Prius c

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 Prius c 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 Prius c 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, rearview cameras and available crash mitigating brakes.

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 Prius c’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 Prius c’s (12 vs. 5 years).

MINI pays for scheduled maintenance on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door for 1 year and 11000 miles longer than Toyota pays for maintenance for the Prius c (3/36,000 vs. 2/25000).

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that MINI vehicles are better in initial quality than Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 12th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 17th, below the industry average.

Engine

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s standard 1.5 turbo 3 cyl. produces 35 more horsepower (134 vs. 99) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (162 vs. 125) than the Prius c’s 1.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door S’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 90 more horsepower (189 vs. 99) and 82 lbs.-ft. more torque (207 vs. 125) than the Prius c’s 1.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Prius c (11.6 vs. 9.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

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 Prius c 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 Prius c:

 

Cooper

Cooper S

Prius c

Front Rotors

11 inches

11.6 inches

10 inches

Rear Rotors

10.2 inches

10.2 inches

9” 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 Prius c. 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 Prius c (205/45R17 vs. 175/65R15).

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 Prius c’s 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door offers optional 18-inch wheels. The Prius c’s largest wheels are only 15-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 Toyota Prius c 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 Prius c 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 Toyota Prius c 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 Prius c’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 Prius c’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Prius c doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

Chassis

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is 5 inches shorter than the Prius c, 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 Prius c doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has 1.3 inches more front headroom and .5 inches more rear headroom than the Prius c.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s rear seats recline. The Prius c’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 Prius c 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.

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. Toyota doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Prius c.

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 Prius c 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 Prius c’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 Prius c can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has standard lighted power door lock, power window, power mirror and cruise control switches so that they are easily found at night. The Prius c doesn’t have lighted switches.

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 Prius c’s standard fixed intermittent wipers only have one fixed delay setting, so the driver will have to manually switch them between slow and intermittent. The Prius c’s optional 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 Prius c 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 Prius c doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

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 Prius c 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 Prius c 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 Prius c doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Toyota only offers heated mirrors on the Prius c Four.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Prius c’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 Prius c’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s optional rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Prius c doesn’t offer the luxury of automatic dimming mirrors.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door offers optional heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the Prius c.

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 Prius c 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 Prius c 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 Prius c doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The MINI Cooper comes in convertible, two-door hatchback and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Toyota Prius c 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 $705 to $1820 less than the Prius c 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 Prius c only retains 40.31% to 41.41%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is less expensive to operate than the Prius c because typical repairs cost much less on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door than the Prius c, including $246 less for a water pump, $286 less for fuel injection and $381 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

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

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

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