The Mini Cooper and the Fiat 500 make for an ideal head-to-head comparison. Both have very distinctive styling. And if that’s the styling that your teenage child loves, then there’s very little else out there that can compete. Both are European. Both are great for new drivers. And both can be bought without enormous insurance bills. The question, therefore, is which of these two promising city cars is better? Let’s find out.
Fiat has made significant strides in the usability of their cars in the last year or so. The big story of last year was the fact that the Fiat 500 now comes with an automatic transmission in the Turbo model. However, the rest of the car remains pretty standard. There’s inbuilt Bluetooth audio, and the car comes with a sophisticated centre console.
The Mini Cooper, on the other hand, has received some quite significant upgrades. The car was redesigned from top to bottom back in 2014. And last year, a whole host of new features were added. What’s great about the researched mini is the new four-door body. Four doors make it so much easier for people to get in and out. And it means that the car doubles up nicely as a second family car, as well as a car for teenagers.
What’s more, garages like CooperMini, have started stocking John Cooper Works models once again. These are sportier versions of the car that we haven’t seen since 2013.
The Mini Cooper also comes with some quality of life features that just make the everyday driving experience more enjoyable. They didn’t have to, but climate control and heated mirrors are now standard on every model Cooper make.
But what about reliability? That’s what really counts when you’re choosing a car for a teenager. In the past, the Mini Cooper did have some reliability issues. But now J. D. Power have investigated the complaints and found them lacking. Modern Mini Coopers come equipped with far more reliable engines than older varieties. And that means far lower bills for young drivers and parents alike.
Data aren’t available right now for the Fiat. But Fiat has been plagued by reliability issues in other vehicles. And there’s every reason to expect that these problems carry over to the 500.
Young people also want a car that doesn’t cost a fortune to run. So how do both cars perform regarding fuel economy? On this front, both cars are roughly the same. The Fiat 500 comes in three engine varieties. The base model is a 1.4 litre, 104 hp 4-cylinder. It does about 31 mpg in cities and 40 mpg on the motorway. The Mini Cooper, on the other hand, comes with a 3-cylinder engine that develops 134 hp. It will do about 29 mpg in cities and around 35 mpg on the motorway.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to choosing a car for a new teen driver, the choice is never easy. But in this very particular segment, the Mini Cooper is the clear winner. For those looking for a city car with personality, this is the firm favourite.