2020 MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door vs. 2020 Subaru Impreza

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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Both the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door and the Impreza 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.

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 Impreza’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 Impreza’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. Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Impreza.

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 Impreza’s 130-amp alternator isn’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 Impreza isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that MINI vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 23rd in initial quality. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th.

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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

Engine

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The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s standard 1.5 turbo 3 cyl. produces 17 lbs.-ft. more torque (162 vs. 145) than the Impreza’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door S’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 37 more horsepower (189 vs. 152) and 61 lbs.-ft. more torque (206 vs. 145) than the Impreza’s 2.0 DOHC 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 Impreza 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 Impreza 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 4 Door higher (7 out of 10) than the Subaru Impreza (6 to 7). This means the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door produces up to 1.1 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Impreza every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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A six-speed manual is standard on the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door, with closer gear ratios for better performance and a lower final drive ratio for quieter highway operation, less engine wear and better fuel mileage. Only a five-speed manual is available for the Impreza.

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 Impreza 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 Impreza 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 Impreza 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 Impreza doesn’t offer a downshift rev synchronizer.

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 Impreza doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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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 Impreza base model’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 Impreza’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 Impreza doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

Chassis

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The MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 250 pounds less than the Subaru Impreza.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is 2 feet, 1.3 inches shorter than the Impreza Sedan, making the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has .1 inches more front headroom and .3 inches more rear headroom than the Impreza.

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

Cargo Capacity

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The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has a larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Impreza Sedan (13.1 vs. 12.3 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

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

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 Impreza can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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

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 Impreza doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Impreza has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Premium/Sport/Limited.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Impreza Premium/Sport/Limited.

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 Impreza’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

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 Impreza doesn’t offer dual zone air-conditioning.

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 Impreza 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 Impreza 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 Subaru Impreza isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is less expensive to operate than the Impreza because it costs $91 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door than the Impreza, including $22 less for fuel injection and $24 less for front struts.

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 2019/11/22

Consumer Reports® recommends both the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door and the Subaru Impreza, 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 Impreza isn’t in the top three.

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

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