2019 MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door vs. 2019 Volkswagen GTI

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door and the GTI 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes and front parking sensors.

Warranty

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door comes with free roadside assistance for 4 years unlimited miles. MINI will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the GTI.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the GTI’s (12 vs. 10 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. Volkswagen doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the GTI.

Reliability

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 14 points higher than the GTI.

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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 12th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th, below the industry average.

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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 17th in reliability. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that MINI vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks MINI 7 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

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 GTI doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Regardless of its engine, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Volkswagen only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the GTI Automatic.

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 GTI doesn’t offer an up-shift light.

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 GTI doesn’t offer a downshift rev synchronizer.

Tires and Wheels

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 GTI doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Chassis

The MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 pounds less than the Volkswagen GTI.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is 10.6 inches shorter than the GTI, 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 GTI doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has 1.5 inches more front headroom and .2 inches more front legroom than the GTI.

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

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 GTI doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 GTI can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

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

Model Availability

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

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 GTI isn’t in the top three.

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

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