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The Cooper Hardtop 4 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 Sentra 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 4 Door and the Sentra 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors and available front parking sensors.
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 Sentra’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 Sentra’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. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Sentra.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door first among compact sporty cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Sentra 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 Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that MINI vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks MINI 1 place higher in reliability than Nissan.
The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s standard 1.5 turbo 3-cylinder produces 16 lbs.-ft. more torque (162 vs. 146) than the Sentra’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door S’ standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 40 more horsepower (189 vs. 149) and 60 lbs.-ft. more torque (206 vs. 146) than the Sentra’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder.
Regenerative brakes improve the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Sentra 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 Sentra doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
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 Sentra doesn’t offer launch control.
For better stopping power the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door S’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Sentra:
The MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Rear drums are standard on the Sentra. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.
The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Sentra SR’s 45 series tires.
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 Sentra 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 Sentra’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
For better maneuverability, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the Sentra’s (36.2 feet vs. 38.1 feet).
The MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 150 to 300 pounds less than the Nissan Sentra.
The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is 2 feet, 1.3 inches shorter than the Sentra, making the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has 1 inch more front headroom and .8 inches more rear headroom than the Sentra.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s rear seats recline. The Sentra’s rear seats don’t recline.
The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Sentra 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 Sentra doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s front power windows open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Sentra’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.
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 from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Sentra can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
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 Sentra’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 Sentra doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has a standard rear wiper. The Sentra doesn’t offer a rear wiper.
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 Sentra 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. Nissan only offers heated mirrors on the Sentra SV/SR.
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 Sentra’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 Sentra offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Sentra’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.
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 Sentra doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
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 Sentra doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
The MINI Cooper comes in coupe, convertible and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Nissan Sentra isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.
Consumer Reports® recommends the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door, based on reliability, safety and performance.
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