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Both the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door and the Civic have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.
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 Civic’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 7 years longer than the Civic’s (12 vs. 5 years).
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. Honda doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Civic.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door first among compact sporty cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Civic 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 Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 27 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that MINI vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks MINI 6 places higher in reliability than Honda.
The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has more powerful engines than the Civic:
Cooper Hardtop 4 Door 1.5 turbo 3 cyl.
Cooper Hardtop 4 Door S 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.
Civic 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.
Civic 1.5 turbo 4 cyl.
Civic Hatchback Sport/Sport Touring 1.5 turbo 4 cyl.
Regenerative brakes improve the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Civic doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Cooper Hardtop 4 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 Civic doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
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 Honda Civic (3 to 7). This means the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Civic every 15,000 miles.
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 more internally efficient than a CVT but just as easy to drive. The Civic doesn’t offer an SMG.
To help the driver achieve optimum performance and fuel economy, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has a standard up-shift light to indicate when to shift based on power needs and conditions. The Civic doesn’t offer an up-shift light.
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 Civic doesn’t offer launch control.
The MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door manual has a downshift rev synchronizer that automatically raises engine speed to make downshifts perfectly smooth. This keeps the car from lurching during downshifts, preventing loss of control during cornering. The Civic doesn’t offer a downshift rev synchronizer.
For better stopping power the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door S’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Civic:
Cooper Hardtop 4 Door S
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 Civic doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
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 Civic’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is 1 foot, 8.5 inches shorter than the Civic 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 Civic doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has .6 inches more front headroom and .4 inches more rear headroom than the Civic Sedan.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s rear seats recline. The Civic’s rear seats don’t recline.
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 Civic’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.
The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The Civic LX Sedan’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.
The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Civic 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.
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 Civic doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The Cooper Hardtop 4 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 Civic’s passenger power window switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.
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 Civic LX/Sport’s standard fixed intermittent wipers only have one fixed delay setting, so the driver will have to manually switch them between slow and intermittent.
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 Civic 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 Civic doesn’t offer cornering lights.
The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Honda only offers heated mirrors on the Civic EX/EX-T/EX-L/Touring.
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 Civic’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.
The Cooper Hardtop 4 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 Civic offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
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 Civic doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
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 $705 less than the Civic over a five-year period.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is less expensive to operate than the Civic because typical repairs cost less on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door than the Civic, including $72 less for a starter.
Consumer Reports® recommends both the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door and the Honda Civic, 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 Civic isn’t in the top three in its category.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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