2020 Toyota Prius vs. 2019 MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 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 2019/10/16

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Toyota Prius are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The Prius has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Prius LE/XLE/Limited has standard Parking Support Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Prius offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The Prius’ lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Prius LE/XLE/Limited’s blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the Prius LE/XLE/Limited’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The Prius’ driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Prius and the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available rear parking sensors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Acceptable” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Prius the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 101 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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Toyota’s powertrain warranty covers the Prius 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than MINI covers the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 10 times as many Toyota dealers as there are MINI dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Prius’ warranty.

Reliability

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A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Prius’ reliability 39 points higher than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than MINI vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, MINI is ranked 23rd, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than MINI vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, MINI is ranked 6th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than MINI vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. MINI is ranked 9th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Prius FWD CVT gets better fuel mileage than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door Auto with its standard engine (58 city/53 hwy vs. 27 city/35 hwy).

Transmission

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The Toyota Prius comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door.

The Prius has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Prius has larger standard tires than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door (195/65R15 vs. 175/65R15). The Prius XLE/Limited’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door (215/45R17 vs. 205/45R17).

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Prius’ wheelbase is 5.2 inches longer than on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door (106.3 inches vs. 101.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Prius is 1 inch wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door.

For better maneuverability, the Prius’ turning circle is 2.7 feet tighter than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s (33.5 feet vs. 36.2 feet). The Prius Limited/XLE FWD’s turning circle is .8 feet tighter than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s (35.4 feet vs. 36.2 feet).

Chassis

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The design of the Toyota Prius amounts to more than styling. The Prius has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .24 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door (.28 to .31) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Prius get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Prius a Mid-size car, while the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is rated a Subcompact.

The Prius has 9.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door (93.1 vs. 84).

The Prius has .9 inches more front legroom, 3.8 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear legroom and 3.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door.

Cargo Capacity

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The Prius has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door with its rear seat up (27.4 vs. 13.1 cubic feet). The Prius has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door with its rear seat folded (65.5 vs. 40.7 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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The Prius’ front and rear power windows all 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 Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Prius has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s optional cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The Prius (except L/LE)’s optional adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

On extremely cold winter days, the Prius XLE/Limited’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Prius has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the Prius has standard rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer rear vents.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Prius is less expensive to operate than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door because it costs $363 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Prius than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door, including $113 less for a water pump, $35 less for a muffler, $23 less for front brake pads, $88 less for a fuel pump, $194 less for front struts and $88 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota Prius will be $1621 to $5395 less than for the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door.

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 2019/10/16

Both are recommended, but Consumer Reports® chose the Toyota Prius as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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