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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Kia Rio 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 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Autonomous Emergency Braking System optional in the Rio as “Superior.” The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door scores only 4 points and is rated only “Advanced.”
Both the Rio and the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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 and rearview cameras.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Acceptable” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Rio the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 137 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has not been fully tested, yet.
The Rio comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.
Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Rio 6 years and 50,000 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 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door 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 Rio’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.
On the EPA test cycle the Rio CVT gets better fuel mileage than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door Auto turbo 3 cyl. (33 city/41 hwy vs. 28 city/36 hwy).
The Kia Rio comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door.
The Rio has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer a CVT.
For better traction, the Rio has larger tires than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door (185/65R15 vs. 175/65R15).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Rio is 1.2 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door.
For better maneuverability, the Rio’s turning circle is 2.7 feet tighter than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s (33.5 feet vs. 36.2 feet).
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Rio Sedan a Compact car, while the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is rated a Subcompact.
The Rio Sedan has 5.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door (89.9 vs. 84).
The Rio Sedan has .7 inches more front legroom, 2.9 inches more front shoulder room, 1.2 inches more rear legroom and 3.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door.
The Rio Sedan has a larger trunk than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door with its rear seat up (13.7 vs. 13.1 cubic feet).
The Rio 5-Door has a much larger cargo area than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door with its rear seat up (17.4 vs. 13.1 cubic feet).
The Rio S 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 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Rio’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Poor.”
Insurance will cost less for the Rio owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Rio with a number “1” 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 Rio is less expensive to operate than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door because it costs $145 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Rio than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door, including $200 less for a water pump, $78 less for a muffler, $42 less for front brake pads, $182 less for a starter, $254 less for a fuel pump, $161 less for front struts, $359 less for a timing belt/chain and $725 less for a power steering pump.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Kia Rio will be $5044 to $15499 less than for the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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