2020 MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door vs. 2019 Chevrolet Cruze

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The Cooper Hardtop 4 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 Cruze doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

Both the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door and the Cruze 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 and rearview cameras.

Warranty

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

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s corrosion warranty is 6 years and unlimited miles longer than the Cruze’s (12/unlimited vs. 6/100,000).

MINI pays for scheduled maintenance on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door for 3 years and 36,000 miles. MINI will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Chevrolet only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Cruze.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has a standard 150-amp alternator. The Cruze’s standard 130-amp alternator and largest (Diesel) 140-amp alternator aren’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door first among compact sporty cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Cruze isn’t in the top three in its category.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that MINI vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks MINI 14 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Engine

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The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door S’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 36 more horsepower (189 vs. 153) and 29 lbs.-ft. more torque (206 vs. 177) than the Cruze’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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Regenerative brakes improve the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Cruze doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door higher (7 out of 10) than the Chevrolet Cruze (3 to 6). This means the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Cruze every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The Cruze doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 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 Cruze doesn’t offer an SMG.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door S 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 Cruze doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Cruze:

Cooper Hardtop 4 Door

Cooper Hardtop 4 Door S

Cruze

Front Rotors

11 inches

11.6 inches

10.8 inches

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 4 Door can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Cruze doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 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 Chevrolet Cruze has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door flat and controlled during cornering. The Cruze’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 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 Cruze’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Cruze doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For better maneuverability, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s turning circle is 2.5 feet tighter than the Cruze’s (36.2 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Chassis

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The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is 1 foot, 5.9 inches shorter than the Cruze Sedan, making the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the Cooper Hardtop 4 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 Cruze doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has 1 inch more front headroom and .2 inches more rear headroom than the Cruze Sedan.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s rear seats recline. The Cruze’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s hatch uses gas strut supported hinges that don’t intrude into the cargo area. The Cruze’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge (except wagon).

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The Cruze L/LS’ standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

Servicing Ease

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The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Cruze 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 Hardtop 4 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 Cruze doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 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 Cruze’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door the driver can close them all 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 Cruze can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 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 Cruze doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 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 Cruze’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 4 Door to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Cruze doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Cruze doesn’t offer cornering lights.

To shield the driver’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side window, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has a standard extendable sun visor. The Cruze doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Heated mirrors cost extra on the Cruze and aren’t offered on the Cruze L/LS.

When the Cooper Hardtop 4 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 Cruze’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s optional rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Cruze doesn’t offer the luxury of automatic dimming mirrors.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 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 Cruze doesn’t offer dual zone air-conditioning.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Cooper Hardtop 4 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 Cruze doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Cruze 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 Chevrolet Cruze isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door will cost $770 less than the Cruze over a five-year period.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door will retain 42.59% to 47.57% of its original price after five years, while the Cruze only retains 36.53% to 41.46%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is less expensive to operate than the Cruze because it costs $46 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door than the Cruze, including $200 less for a water pump, $116 less for a muffler and $85 less for fuel injection.

Recommendations

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Consumer Reports® recommends both the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door and the Chevrolet Cruze, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door first among compact sporty cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Cruze isn’t in the top three in its category.

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