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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Chevrolet Sonic are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.
The Sonic LT/Premier’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.
The Sonic’s blind spot mirrors use wide-angle convex mirrors mounted in the corner of each side view mirror to reveal objects that may be in the driver’s blind spots. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.
Both the Sonic and the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger 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, available collision warning systems and rear parking sensors.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sonic the rating of “Top Pick” for 2016, a rating granted to only 176 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has not been tested, yet.
Chevrolet’s powertrain warranty covers the Sonic 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than MINI covers the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
There are almost 24 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are MINI dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Sonic’s warranty.
The Chevrolet Sonic’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than MINI vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 22 more problems per 100 vehicles, MINI is ranked 23rd, below the industry average.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than MINI vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, MINI is ranked 6th.
The Sonic’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. produces 4 more horsepower (138 vs. 134) than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s standard 1.5 turbo 3 cyl.
The Chevrolet Sonic comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door.
For better traction, the Sonic has larger standard tires than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door (195/65R15 vs. 175/65R15).
For better maneuverability, the Sonic LS/LT’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s (34.5 feet vs. 36.2 feet). The Sonic LTZ/RS’ turning circle is .1 feet tighter than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s (36.1 feet vs. 36.2 feet).
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Sonic Sedan a Compact car, while the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is rated a Subcompact.
The Sonic Sedan has 6.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door (90.3 vs. 84).
The Sonic Sedan has .4 inches more front legroom, 2.2 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 2.3 inches more rear legroom and 3.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door.
The Sonic Sedan has a much larger trunk than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door with its rear seat up (14.9 vs. 13.1 cubic feet).
The Sonic has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door with its rear seat up (19 vs. 13.1 cubic feet). The Sonic has a much larger trunk with its rear seat folded than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door with its rear seat folded (47.7 vs. 40.7 cubic feet).
The Sonic (except LS) offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
The Sonic LT/Premier’s available front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.
On extremely cold winter days, the Sonic’s optional (except LS/RS/5-Door) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
Insurance will cost less for the Sonic owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Sonic with a number “3” insurance rate while the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is rated higher at a number “5” rate.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sonic is less expensive to operate than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door because it costs $382 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Sonic than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door, including $80 less for a water pump, $233 less for a starter, $91 less for fuel injection, $185 less for a fuel pump, $199 less for front struts, $406 less for a timing belt/chain and $567 less for a power steering pump.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Chevrolet Sonic will be $3968 to $9271 less than for the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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