2020 MINI Cooper Convertible vs. 2019 Buick Cascada

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/11/21

The Cooper Convertible has standard Automatic Emergency Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Cascada has a collision warning system without the crash-mitigating brake feature that could reduce stopping distances.

Both the Cooper Convertible and the Cascada 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 and available front parking sensors.

Warranty

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The Cooper Convertible’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the Cascada’s (12 vs. 6 years).

MINI pays for scheduled maintenance on the Cooper Convertible for 3 years and 36,000 miles. MINI will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Buick only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Cascada.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates rated the Cooper Convertible first among compact sporty cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Cascada isn’t in the top three.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that MINI vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks MINI 10 places higher in reliability than Buick.

Engine

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The John Cooper Works Convertible’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 28 more horsepower (228 vs. 200) and 14 lbs.-ft. more torque (235 vs. 221) than the Cascada’s 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the MINI Cooper Convertible turbo 3 cyl. is faster than the Buick Cascada (automatics tested):

Cooper Convertible

Cascada

Zero to 30 MPH

2.5 sec

2.9 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.5 sec

8.3 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

14 sec

14.5 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

24.6 sec

25 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

5.4 sec

5.6 sec

Quarter Mile

16 sec

16.5 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the John Cooper Works Convertible 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (228 HP) gets better fuel mileage than the Cascada (25 city/33 hwy vs. 21 city/29 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the Cooper Convertible’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Cascada doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Cooper Convertible’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Cascada doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

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The Cooper Convertible offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The Cascada doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

An eight-speed automatic is optional on the MINI Cooper Convertible, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Cascada.

The Cooper Convertible offers an optional sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Cascada doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the John Cooper Works Convertible’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Cascada:

John Cooper Works Convertible

Cascada

Front Rotors

13.2 inches

12.6 inches

The Cooper Convertible stops much shorter than the Cascada:

Cooper Convertible

Cascada

70 to 0 MPH

158 feet

174 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/11/21

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the Cooper Convertible can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Cascada doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the MINI Cooper Convertible has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Buick Cascada has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Cooper Convertible has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Cooper Convertible flat and controlled during cornering. The Cascada’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Cooper Convertible offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Cascada’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Cooper Convertible S handles at .91 G’s, while the Cascada Premium pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Cooper Convertible’s turning circle is 3.3 feet tighter than the Cascada’s (35.4 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Chassis

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The MINI Cooper Convertible may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 900 to 1100 pounds less than the Buick Cascada.

The Cooper Convertible is 2 feet, 9.8 inches shorter than the Cascada, making the Cooper Convertible easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Cooper Convertible is quieter than the Cascada Premium (74 vs. 76 dB).

Passenger Space

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The Cooper Convertible has 2 inches more front headroom and 2.9 inches more rear headroom than the Cascada.

Cargo Capacity

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A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Cooper Convertible. The Cascada doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

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The Cooper Convertible uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Cascada uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

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The Cooper Convertible offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Cascada doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Start/Stop Switch standard on the Cooper Convertible allows you to start the engine without removing a key from pocket or purse. The Buick Cascada doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The Cooper Convertible’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Cascada’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Cooper Convertible to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Cascada doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Cooper Convertible detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Cascada doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

When the Cooper Convertible 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 Cascada’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Cooper Convertible 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 Cascada has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Cooper Convertible offers an optional Active Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Cascada doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the MINI Cooper offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Cascada doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The Cooper Convertible’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Cascada doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/11/21

The MINI Cooper comes in coupe, convertible and four-door hatchback bodystyles; the Buick Cascada isn’t available as a coupe or four-door.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Cooper Convertible owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Cooper Convertible will cost $540 to $2830 less than the Cascada over a five-year period.

The Cooper Convertible will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Cooper Convertible will retain 42.42% to 50.12% of its original price after five years, while the Cascada only retains 28.04% to 36.64%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the MINI Cooper Convertible will be $1406 to $10718 less than for the Buick Cascada.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/11/21

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Cooper Convertible first among compact sporty cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Cascada isn’t in the top three.

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

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