2020 MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door vs. 2020 Lexus RC

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/07/10

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has a standard PostCrash iBrake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The RC doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Both the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door and the RC have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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 all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 153 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The RC was last qualified as only a “Top Pick” in 2016.

Warranty

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The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the RC’s (12 vs. 6 years).

MINI pays for scheduled maintenance on the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door for 2 years and 26000 miles longer than Lexus pays for maintenance for the RC (3/36,000 vs. 1/10,000).

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 RC’s camshafts. If the RC’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

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

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Cooper Hardtop 2 Door

1.5 turbo 3-cyl.

28 city/36 hwy

S 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

26 city/35 hwy

JCW 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

26 city/34 hwy

RC

RWD

300 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/30 hwy

350 3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/28 hwy

AWD

300 3.5 DOHC V6

18 city/24 hwy

350 3.5 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

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

Transmission

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The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The RC doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

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 RC 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 RC doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Cooper

RC

70 to 0 MPH

158 feet

178 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 RC doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Chassis

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The MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1000 to 1100 pounds less than the Lexus RC.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door is 2 feet, 9.9 inches shorter than the RC, making the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

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 RC doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has 1.3 inches more front headroom, 2.1 inches more rear headroom and 3.5 inches more rear legroom than the RC.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s rear seats recline. The RC’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 RC’s liftover is 27.6 inches.

Servicing Ease

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The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The RC doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

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 RC doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 RC’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

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 RC’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 RC 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 RC 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 RC doesn’t offer cornering lights.

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 RC 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 Lexus RC 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 $1420 to $8130 less than the RC 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 RC because typical repairs cost much less on the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door than the RC, including $175 less for a water pump, $262 less for a starter, $377 less for fuel injection, $553 less for a timing belt/chain and $344 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 $16099 to $18362 less than for the Lexus RC.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/07/10

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

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 RC isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

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