2020 MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door vs. 2020 Dodge Challenger

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 2019/11/20

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 Challenger offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

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 Challenger doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

Both the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door and the Challenger have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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 Dodge Challenger:

Cooper Hardtop 2 Door

Challenger

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.7 inches

Neck Compression

53 lbs.

73 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

277/243 lbs.

190/375 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 Challenger:

Cooper Hardtop 2 Door

Challenger

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

GOOD

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

3 cm

8 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

24 cm

26 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

.8/0 kN

2.8/.4 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Tibia index R/L

.64/.28

1.46/1.01

Tibia forces R/L

2.2/.4 kN

4.8/2.4 kN

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) performs roof strength tests. In that test the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door earned the top rating of “Good” because its roof supported over four times the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s weight before being crushed five inches. The Challenger was rated lower at “Acceptable.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the general design of front seat head restraints for their ability to protect front seat occupants from whiplash injuries. The IIHS also performs a dynamic test on those seats with “good” or “acceptable” geometry. In these ratings, the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door is safer than the Challenger:

Cooper Hardtop 2 Door

Challenger

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Restraint Design

GOOD

GOOD

Distance from Back of Head

10 mm

61 mm

Distance Below Top of Head

21 mm

28 mm

Dynamic Test Rating

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Seat Design

Pass

Fail

Neck Force Rating

Low

Low

Max Neck Shearing Force

1

83

Max Neck Tension

285

456

(Lower numerical results are better in all tests.)

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 Challenger was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

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The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Challenger’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Challenger’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/60,000).

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. Dodge doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Challenger.

Reliability

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For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of some of the engines in the Challenger.

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 Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 59 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 28th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that MINI vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks MINI 12 places higher in reliability than Dodge.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the John Cooper Works Hardtop Auto 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (228 HP) gets better fuel mileage than the Challenger RWD V6 (26 city/34 hwy vs. 19 city/30 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Challenger 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 Challenger doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door higher (3 to 7 out of 10) than the Dodge Challenger (1 to 3). This means the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door produces up to 47 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Challenger every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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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 Challenger doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Cooper Hardtop 2 Door

Challenger

70 to 0 MPH

158 feet

176 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

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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 Challenger doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The John Cooper Works Hardtop handles at .92 G’s, while the Challenger SXT pulls only .86 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the Challenger SXT/GT/R/T’s (35.4 feet vs. 37.4 feet). The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s turning circle is 3.3 feet tighter than the Challenger Widebody’s (35.4 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Chassis

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The MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1250 to 1600 pounds less than the Dodge Challenger.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door is 3 feet, 10.4 inches shorter than the Challenger, making the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door is 8.7 inches narrower on average than the Challenger, making the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

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 Challenger (.337 to .398). 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.

For excellent aerodynamics, the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has standard flush composite headlights. The Challenger has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

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 Challenger 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 Challenger SRT Hellcat:

Cooper Hardtop 2 Door

Challenger

At idle

41 dB

59 dB

Full-Throttle

83 dB

87 dB

70 MPH Cruising

69 dB

76 dB

Passenger Space

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

Cargo Capacity

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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 Challenger’s liftover is 33.2 inches.

Ergonomics

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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 Challenger doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has a lever hand brake in the console, easy to use while keeping both feet free and not impeding entry and exit. The Challenger’s foot pedal parking brake is not handy to use as a hill holding device with a manual transmission.

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 Challenger’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

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 Challenger can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 Challenger 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 Challenger’s standard 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 Challenger doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has a standard rear wiper. The Challenger doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

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 Challenger doesn’t offer cornering lights.

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 Challenger’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 Challenger has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

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 Challenger doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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 Challenger 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 Dodge Challenger isn’t available as a convertible or four-door.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door will cost $1485 less than the Challenger over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door is less expensive to operate than the Challenger because typical repairs cost much less on the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door than the Challenger, including $477 less for a muffler, $221 less for front brake pads, $163 less for a fuel pump and $96 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door will be $7453 to $35846 less than for the Dodge Challenger.

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 2019/11/20

Consumer Reports® recommends the MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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