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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Mazda 3 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 Mazda 3 has standard Whiplash Reducing Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Reducing Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Smart City Brake Support in the Mazda 3 as “Superior.” The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door scores only 4 points and is rated only “Advanced.”
The Mazda 3 offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The Mazda 3’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 Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.
The Mazda 3 (except Base Sedan)’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 Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.
To help make backing safer, the Mazda 3 (except Base Sedan)’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 Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
Both the Mazda 3 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, 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 front parking sensors.
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, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Mazda 3 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has not been fully tested, yet.
Mazda’s powertrain warranty covers the Mazda3 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 5 times as many Mazda dealers as there are MINI dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the 3’s warranty.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mazda vehicles are better in initial quality than MINI vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 12th in initial quality. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, MINI is ranked 23rd.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than MINI vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda second in reliability. MINI is ranked 10th.
The Mazda 3’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 52 more horsepower (186 vs. 134) and 24 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 162) than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s standard 1.5 turbo 3-cylinder.
An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Mazda 3 Premium/Hatchback/AWD’s fuel efficiency. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.
The Mazda 3 AWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door (12.7 vs. 11.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Mazda 3 FWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door (13.2 vs. 11.6 gallons).
The Mazda 3 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 Mazda 3 has larger standard tires than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door (205/60R16 vs. 175/65R15). The Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door (215/45R18 vs. 205/45R17).
The Mazda 3 Sedan’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s standard 65 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Mazda 3 Sedan has standard 16-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Mazda 3’s wheelbase is 6.2 inches longer than on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door (107.3 inches vs. 101.1 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Mazda 3 is 2.9 inches wider in the front and 3.4 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door.
For better maneuverability, the Mazda 3’s turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s (34.8 feet vs. 36.2 feet).
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Mazda 3 a Compact car, while the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is rated a Subcompact.
The Mazda 3 Sedan has 8.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door (92.8 vs. 84).
The Mazda 3 Sedan has .9 inches more front legroom, 4.5 inches more front shoulder room, 2.8 inches more rear legroom and 3.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door.
The Mazda 3 Sedan has a larger trunk than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door with its rear seat up (13.2 vs. 13.1 cubic feet).
The Mazda 3 Hatchback has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door with its rear seat up (20.1 vs. 13.1 cubic feet). The Mazda 3 Hatchback has a much larger trunk with its rear seat folded than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door with its rear seat folded (47 vs. 40.7 cubic feet).
The Mazda 3 Auto 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.
When two different drivers share the Mazda 3 Preferred/Premium, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each keyless remote activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer a memory system.
The Mazda 3’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.
The Mazda 3’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.
The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s optional cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The Mazda 3 Premium’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.
The Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium 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 Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.
For greater rear passenger comfort, the Mazda 3 has standard rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer rear vents.
Insurance will cost less for the Mazda 3 owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Mazda 3 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 Mazda 3 is less expensive to operate than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door because it costs $127 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Mazda 3 than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door, including $182 less for a water pump, $77 less for a muffler, $29 less for front brake pads, $217 less for a starter, $1 less for a fuel pump, $150 less for front struts, $352 less for a timing belt/chain and $635 less for a power steering pump.
Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mazda 3 and the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door, based on reliability, safety and performance.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
Get the best value for your car from an Asbury dealership.