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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Volkswagen GTI 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 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Autonomous Emergency Braking in the GTI as “Superior.” The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door scores only 4 points and is rated only “Advanced.”
The GTI Autobahn’s 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 GTI’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 GTI’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.
Both the GTI and the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door 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, post-collision automatic braking systems, 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, its standard front crash prevention system, its “Acceptable” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the GTI the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has not been fully tested, yet.
There are over 5 times as many Volkswagen dealers as there are MINI dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the GTI’s warranty.
The Volkswagen GTI’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.
The GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 94 more horsepower (228 vs. 134) and 96 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 162) than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s standard 1.5 turbo 3-cylinder. The GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 39 more horsepower (228 vs. 189) and 52 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 206) than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door S’ standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.
The GTI has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door (13.2 vs. 11.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
For better stopping power the GTI’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door:
The GTI’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the GTI has larger tires than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door (225/40R18 vs. 175/65R15). The GTI’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door (225/40R18 vs. 205/45R17).
The GTI’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s standard 65 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GTI has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GTI’s wheelbase is 2.5 inches longer than on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door (103.6 inches vs. 101.1 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the GTI is 1.8 inches wider in the front and .9 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door.
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the GTI a Compact car, while the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door is rated a Subcompact.
The GTI has 9.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door (93.5 vs. 84).
The GTI has 4.7 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom, 3.3 inches more rear legroom and 4.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door.
The GTI has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door with its rear seat up (22.8 vs. 13.1 cubic feet). The GTI has a much larger trunk with its rear seat folded than the Cooper Hardtop 4 Door with its rear seat folded (52.7 vs. 40.7 cubic feet).
The GTI’s 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.
The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door’s optional cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The GTI SE/Autobahn’s standard 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.
The GTI has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable and it can provide a boundary between children. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.
For greater rear passenger comfort, the GTI has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door doesn’t offer rear vents.
Consumer Reports® recommends both the Volkswagen GTI and the MINI Cooper Hardtop 4 Door, based on reliability, safety and performance.
The GTI was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 14 of the last 14 years. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.
Motor Trend selected the GTI as their 2015 Car of the Year. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has never been chosen.
The GTI was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 5 of the last 13 years. The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has never been an “All Star.”
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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