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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Kia Niro EV 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 SE doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.
The Niro EV has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Cooper SE doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
The Niro EV’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Cooper SE doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.
The Niro EV’s blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Cooper SE doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.
To help make backing safer, the Niro EV’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Cooper SE doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
Both the Niro EV and the Cooper SE 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors and available rear parking sensors.
The Kia Niro EV weighs 701 pounds more than the MINI Cooper SE. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, with its optional vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Niro EV the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 32 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Cooper SE has not been tested, yet.
The Niro EV comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Cooper SE’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.
Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Niro EV 6 years and 50,000 miles longer than MINI covers the Cooper SE. Any repair needed on the motor, batteries, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Cooper SE ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
There are over 6 times as many Kia dealers as there are MINI dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Niro EV’s warranty.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than MINI vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 37 more problems per 100 vehicles, MINI is ranked 23rd, below the industry average.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than MINI vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 1 place higher in reliability than MINI.
The Niro EV’s electric motor produces 20 more horsepower (201 vs. 181) and 92 lbs.-ft. more torque (291 vs. 199) than the Cooper SE’s electric motor.
On the EPA test cycle the Niro EV gets better fuel mileage than the Cooper SE (123 city/102 hwy vs. 115 city/100 hwy MPGe).
The Niro EV’s maximum EPA estimated driving range is 239 miles on a full charge, over twice as far as the Cooper SE’s 110-mile range.
For better traction, the Niro EV has larger tires than the Cooper SE (215/55R17 vs. 195/55R16).
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Niro EV has standard 17-inch wheels. Only 16-inch wheels are available on the Cooper SE.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Niro EV’s wheelbase is 8.1 inches longer than on the Cooper SE (106.3 inches vs. 98.2 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Niro EV is 3.5 inches wider in the front and 3.9 inches wider in the rear than on the Cooper SE.
The Niro EV has standard seating for 5 passengers; the Cooper SE can only carry 4.
The Niro EV has 16.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Cooper SE (96.6 vs. 80).
The Niro EV has .3 inches more front legroom, 5.4 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear headroom, 5.2 inches more rear legroom and 7.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Cooper SE.
The Niro EV has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Cooper SE with its rear seat up (18.5 vs. 7.5 cubic feet). The Niro EV has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Cooper SE with its rear seat folded (53 vs. 25.8 cubic feet).
The Niro EV’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children in the rear seat from operating them, but the driver can still raise and lower all of them with the lock engaged. MINI does not offer a locking feature on the Cooper SE’s standard power windows.
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Niro EV has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Cooper SE only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.
Standard air-conditioned seats in the Niro EV EX Premium keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The Cooper SE doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
On extremely cold winter days, the Niro EV’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Cooper SE doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
The Niro EV has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable and it can provide a boundary between children. The Cooper SE doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.
For greater rear passenger comfort, the Niro EV has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Cooper SE doesn’t offer rear vents.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Kia Niro EV, based on reliability, safety and performance.
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