2020 MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door vs. 2019 Fiat 500

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 2019/11/17

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door 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 500 doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has standard Park Distance Control to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or, optionally, in front of the vehicle. The 500 doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has standard Assist eCall, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The 500 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door and the 500 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver 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 and rearview cameras.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door is safer than the Fiat 500:

Cooper Hardtop 2 Door

500

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

183

384

Neck Stress

318 lbs.

406 lbs.

Neck Compression

60 lbs.

152 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

261/454 lbs.

436/571 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

3 Stars

HIC

238

301

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk

37%

49%

Neck Stress

225 lbs.

256 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

277/243 lbs.

479/866 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door is safer than the 500:

Cooper Hardtop 2 Door

500

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Restraints

GOOD

POOR

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

3 cm

7 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Femur Force R/L

.8/0 kN

8.2/4.2 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

1.69%/.79%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Tibia index R/L

.64/.28

1.69/.79

Tibia forces R/L

2.2/.4 kN

6.4/4.8 kN

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 Cooper Hardtop 2 Door the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 169 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 500 was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

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The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the 500’s (12 vs. 5 years).

MINI pays for scheduled maintenance on the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door for 3 years and 36,000 miles. MINI will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Fiat doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the 500.

Reliability

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A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the 500’s camshaft. If the 500’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has a standard 150-amp alternator. The 500’s 120-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s reliability 34 points higher than the 500.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door first among compact sporty cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The 500 isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that MINI vehicles are more reliable than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 130 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 31st.

Engine

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The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has more powerful engines than the 500:

Horsepower

Torque

Cooper Hardtop 2 Door 1.5 turbo 3 cyl.

134 HP

162 lbs.-ft.

Cooper Hardtop 2 Door S 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

189 HP

206 lbs.-ft.

John Cooper Works Hardtop 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

228 HP

235 lbs.-ft.

500 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

135 HP

150 lbs.-ft.

500 Abarth 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

157 HP

183 lbs.-ft.

500 Abarth 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

160 HP

170 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door is faster than the 500 Abarth (manual transmissions tested):

Cooper Hardtop 2 Door S

John Cooper Works Hardtop

500

Zero to 60 MPH

6.3 sec

6 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

14.3 sec

15.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

95.8 MPH

102 MPH

89.8 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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 2019/11/17

On the EPA test cycle the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door gets better fuel mileage than the 500:

Cooper Hardtop 2 Door

500

1.5 turbo 3 cyl./7-spd. Auto

28 city/36 hwy

n/a

2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (228 HP)/8-spd. Auto

26 city/34 hwy

24 city/32 hwy

1.4 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (189 HP)/7-spd. Auto

26 city/35 hwy

24 city/32 hwy

1.4 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

Regenerative brakes improve the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The 500 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door Auto’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 500 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has 1.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the 500 (11.6 vs. 10.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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A six-speed manual is standard on the MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door, with closer gear ratios for better performance and a lower final drive ratio for quieter highway operation, less engine wear and better fuel mileage. Only a five-speed manual is available for the 500.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door 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 500 doesn’t offer an SMG.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door S/JCW Auto’s optional launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The 500 doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the John Cooper Works Hardtop’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 500:

John Cooper Works Hardtop

500

Front Rotors

13.2 inches

11.1 inches

Rear Rotors

10.2 inches

9.4 inches

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door stops much shorter than the 500:

Cooper Hardtop 2 Door

500

80 to 0 MPH

229 feet

234 feet

Road and Track

70 to 0 MPH

158 feet

195 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

111 feet

117 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door offers optional 18-inch wheels. The 500’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.

The MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Fiat 500 only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The 500 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door Base has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the 500; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door 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 Fiat 500 has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door flat and controlled during cornering. The 500 base model’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door 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 500’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s wheelbase is 7.6 inches longer than on the 500 (98.2 inches vs. 90.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door is 3.4 inches wider in the front and 3.8 inches wider in the rear than the track on the 500.

The John Cooper Works Hardtop handles at .92 G’s, while the 500 Abarth pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door S executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2 seconds quicker than the 500 (26.4 seconds vs. 28.4 seconds).

For better maneuverability, the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s turning circle is 2.2 feet tighter than the 500’s (35.4 feet vs. 37.6 feet).

Chassis

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The design of the MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door amounts to more than styling. The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door offers aerodynamic coefficients of drag from .28 to .36 Cd (depending on bodystyle and options). That is lower than the 500 (.352 to .362). A more efficient exterior helps the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door go faster and keeps the interior quieter. It also helps the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door get better fuel mileage.

The front grille of the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The 500 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door S is quieter than the 500 Abarth:

Cooper Hardtop 2 Door

500

At idle

41 dB

56 dB

Full-Throttle

83 dB

84 dB

70 MPH Cruising

69 dB

71 dB

Passenger Space

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The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has 4.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 500 (80 vs. 75.5).

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has 1.4 inches more front headroom, .7 inches more front legroom, 1.2 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear headroom and 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the 500.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s rear seats recline. The 500’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has a larger trunk with its rear seat folded than the 500 with its rear seat folded (34 vs. 30.1 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door easier. The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s trunk lift-over height is 25.4 inches, while the 500’s liftover is 27.2 inches.

Servicing Ease

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The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The 500 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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To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The 500 doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The 500 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s front power windows open or close 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 500’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s standard power window controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 500’s available power window controls are spread out on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

If the front windows are left open on the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door the driver can close them at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the 500 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Start/Stop Switch standard on the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door allows you to start the engine without removing a key from pocket or purse. The Fiat 500 doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The 500’s power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The 500 doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’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 500’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The 500 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The 500 doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The 500 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The 500 doesn’t offer cornering lights.

To shield the driver’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side window, the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has a standard extendable sun visor. The 500 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

When the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door 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 500’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door 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 500 offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s optional dual zone air-conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The 500 doesn’t offer dual zone air-conditioning.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door 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 500 doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The 500 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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The MINI Cooper comes in coupe, convertible and four-door hatchback bodystyles; the Fiat 500 isn’t available as a convertible or four-door.

Economic Advantages

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The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door will retain 40.97% to 50.52% of its original price after five years, while the 500 only retains 26.63% to 34.46%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door is less expensive to operate than the 500 because typical repairs cost much less on the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door than the 500, including $202 less for fuel injection.

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 2019/11/17

Consumer Reports® recommends the MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Fiat 500 isn't recommended.

Car and Driver performed a comparison test in its July 2014 issue and they ranked the MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door S higher than the Fiat 500 Abarth.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door first among compact sporty cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The 500 isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

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