2019 MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door vs. 2019 Toyota Prius

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Compared to metal, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Toyota Prius has a metal gas tank.

Both the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door and the Prius have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes and front parking sensors.

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’ 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’ (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 (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 13 more horsepower (134 vs. 121) than the Prius’ 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door S’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 68 more horsepower (189 vs. 121) than the Prius’ 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

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 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:

 

Cooper

Cooper S

Prius

Front Rotors

11 inches

11.6 inches

10 inches

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 Prius XLE/Limited’s 45 series tires.

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

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 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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’ 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 250 to 300 pounds less than the Toyota Prius.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is 1 foot, 10.6 inches shorter than the Prius, making the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has .5 inches more front headroom and .1 inches more rear headroom than the Prius.

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

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 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 Prius’ standard 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 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 Prius L Eco doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

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 has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the XLE/Limited.

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 doesn’t offer a secondary sun visor.

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’ 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 Prius 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 Prius doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

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 only retains 41.61% to 41.98%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is less expensive to operate than the Prius because typical repairs cost much less on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door than the Prius, including $439 less for fuel injection and $392 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door and the Toyota Prius, 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 Prius isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

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