2021 MINI Cooper vs 2021 Toyota Corolla

2021 Toyota Corolla
2021 Toyota Corolla
$20,025MSRP
Overview
Overview
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2021 MINI Cooper
2021 MINI Cooper
$22,400MSRP
Overview
Overview
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2021 Toyota Corolla
$20,025MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2021 MINI Cooper
$22,400MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now

CarGurus highlights

Winning Vehicle Image

According to CarGurus experts, the overall rating for the 2021 Toyota Corolla is 7.8 out of 10, while the 2021 MINI Cooper scores 5.0 out of 10. Based on these ratings, the 2021 Toyota Corolla is the clear choice, offering a better balance of safety, comfort, and technology.

Overview

MSRP

$20,025

MSRP

$22,400

Average price

$19,291

Average price

$24,434

Listings

2344

Listings

188
Ratings & Reviews
User Reviews
User Reviews

Expert reviews

7.8 out of 10

Expert reviews

5.0 out of 10
Pros
  • Standard advanced safety features
  • Fun to drive
  • Manual transmission available
Cons
  • Noisy
  • Outdated technology
Pros
  • Fun to drive
  • Multiple powertrain options
  • Manual transmission available
Cons
  • Poor value for money
  • Poor ergonomic design
  • Cramped back seat

2021 Toyota Corolla Reviews Summary

Everybody knows somebody who owns or has owned a Toyota Corolla. Thanks to a deserved reputation for affordability, reliability, and efficiency, the Corolla is what comes to mind when all you want is a cheap, dependable, and thrifty set of wheels.

Over the nameplate’s 55-year history, Toyota built a handful of Corollas that were anything but rolling appliances. But those fun-to-drive gems were relative rarities. Under the tenure of Akio Toyoda, the automaker’s current president and a man who loves to drive, the Corolla has become something more than a bore. It’s a car that makes you want to cruise instead of snooze.

We’re talking about the Corolla SE and XSE, of course. Toyota still makes dull and duller versions of its compact car, but the SE and XSE trim levels add some spice to the basic commuter-car recipe.

This year, the 2021 Toyota Corolla SE and XSE are available in a new limited-production Apex Edition flavor. It’s got a track-tuned sport suspension, a lowered ride height, revised steering calibration, a sport exhaust system, and lightweight 18-inch gloss black aluminum wheels that you can wrap in optional summer performance tires. Unfortunately, it also comes with a “Lookit me, Officer, I like to go fast!” body kit.

Fearing this would be the example Toyota sent to us for review, we instead happily accepted the key fob to a Barcelona Red Corolla XSE and discovered that you don’t need the Apex Edition treatment to enjoy driving this car.

2021 MINI Cooper Reviews Summary

The MINI Cooper is a funky little car with a big attitude that screams nostalgia. The BMW-owned automaker marches to the beat of its own drum, and while the MINI Cooper isn’t the most practical or best equipped car in its class, its unique styling and classic fun-loving attitude will be just what the doctor ordered for many buyers.

The Cooper is available in body styles that include the two-door Mini Cooper Hardtop, a four-door hardtop, and a convertible. Other variants of the Cooper go by different names, such as the larger MINI Countryman crossover and the Clubman wagon.

Updates for the 2021 model year includes several new features and the re-addition of a manual transmission option. Two new special editions are also available: MINI Sidewalk and John Cooper Works GP.

The MINI Cooper's odd place in the market pits it against several competitors from various classes. New car buyers may cross-shop the Mazda MX-5 Miata, BMW 2 Series, Kia Soul, Kia Seltos, Subaru BRZ, Toyota GR86, Hyundai Kona, or Mazda MX-30 when making a buying decision on the MINI. Prior to their discontinuation, the Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit were solid Mini competitors as well.

No video found
Popular Features & Specs

Engine

1.8L 139 hp I4

Engine

1.5L 134 hp I3

Drive Train

FWD

Drive Train

FWD

Seating Capacity

5

Seating Capacity

4

Horsepower

Horsepower

134 hp @ 4400 rpm

MPG City

30

MPG City

26

MPG Highway

38

MPG Highway

37
2021 Toyota Corolla
2021 Toyota Corolla
$20,025MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2021 MINI Cooper
2021 MINI Cooper
$22,400MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2021 Toyota Corolla
$20,025MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2021 MINI Cooper
$22,400MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now

CarGurus highlights

Winning Vehicle Image

According to CarGurus experts, the overall rating for the 2021 Toyota Corolla is 7.8 out of 10, while the 2021 MINI Cooper scores 5.0 out of 10. Based on these ratings, the 2021 Toyota Corolla is the clear choice, offering a better balance of safety, comfort, and technology.

Overview
MSRP
$20,025
$22,400
Average price
$19,291
$24,434
Listings
Ratings & Reviews
User reviews
4.2
4.7
Expert reviews

7.8 out of 10

Read full review

5.0 out of 10

Read full review
Pros & cons
Pros
  • Standard advanced safety features
  • Fun to drive
  • Manual transmission available
Cons
  • Noisy
  • Outdated technology
Pros
  • Fun to drive
  • Multiple powertrain options
  • Manual transmission available
Cons
  • Poor value for money
  • Poor ergonomic design
  • Cramped back seat
Summary

Everybody knows somebody who owns or has owned a Toyota Corolla. Thanks to a deserved reputation for affordability, reliability, and efficiency, the Corolla is what comes to mind when all you want is a cheap, dependable, and thrifty set of wheels.

Over the nameplate’s 55-year history, Toyota built a handful of Corollas that were anything but rolling appliances. But those fun-to-drive gems were relative rarities. Under the tenure of Akio Toyoda, the automaker’s current president and a man who loves to drive, the Corolla has become something more than a bore. It’s a car that makes you want to cruise instead of snooze.

We’re talking about the Corolla SE and XSE, of course. Toyota still makes dull and duller versions of its compact car, but the SE and XSE trim levels add some spice to the basic commuter-car recipe.

This year, the 2021 Toyota Corolla SE and XSE are available in a new limited-production Apex Edition flavor. It’s got a track-tuned sport suspension, a lowered ride height, revised steering calibration, a sport exhaust system, and lightweight 18-inch gloss black aluminum wheels that you can wrap in optional summer performance tires. Unfortunately, it also comes with a “Lookit me, Officer, I like to go fast!” body kit.

Fearing this would be the example Toyota sent to us for review, we instead happily accepted the key fob to a Barcelona Red Corolla XSE and discovered that you don’t need the Apex Edition treatment to enjoy driving this car.

The MINI Cooper is a funky little car with a big attitude that screams nostalgia. The BMW-owned automaker marches to the beat of its own drum, and while the MINI Cooper isn’t the most practical or best equipped car in its class, its unique styling and classic fun-loving attitude will be just what the doctor ordered for many buyers.

The Cooper is available in body styles that include the two-door Mini Cooper Hardtop, a four-door hardtop, and a convertible. Other variants of the Cooper go by different names, such as the larger MINI Countryman crossover and the Clubman wagon.

Updates for the 2021 model year includes several new features and the re-addition of a manual transmission option. Two new special editions are also available: MINI Sidewalk and John Cooper Works GP.

The MINI Cooper's odd place in the market pits it against several competitors from various classes. New car buyers may cross-shop the Mazda MX-5 Miata, BMW 2 Series, Kia Soul, Kia Seltos, Subaru BRZ, Toyota GR86, Hyundai Kona, or Mazda MX-30 when making a buying decision on the MINI. Prior to their discontinuation, the Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit were solid Mini competitors as well.

Video
No video found
Popular Features & Specs
Engine
1.8L 139 hp I4
1.5L 134 hp I3
Drive Train
FWD
FWD
Seating Capacity
5
4
Horsepower
134 hp @ 4400 rpm
MPG City
30
26
MPG Highway
38
37
Look and feel
2021 Toyota Corolla
8/10
2021 MINI Cooper
5/10
The 2021 Toyota Corolla, particularly in its 12th-generation form, was considered one of the most attractive Corollas in recent history. The SE and XSE trims added sporty design elements like sport-design bumpers, a mesh grille insert, and 18-inch aluminum wheels, making it genuinely appealing, especially in Celestite Gray metallic paint. However, some design aspects, such as the hood shut line and the over-styled rear bumper, detracted from its overall look. The Corolla L, LE, and XLE trims offered a more anonymous appearance, while the Corolla Hybrid provided an affordable path to high fuel efficiency. The XSE trim, priced at $28,704 with options, featured a well-crafted interior with soft leatherette, padded door panels, and a minimalist design, though it lacked practical storage. The 2021 MINI Cooper, with its iconic styling, stood out in the subcompact car segment. Its rounded shape, compact dimensions, and various customization options, including Union Jack graphics, made it instantly recognizable. The interior continued the unique design language with circular elements and a funky infotainment touchscreen. While the cabin was high quality, it lacked space, especially in the rear seats, which were best used for cargo. The front seats were comfortable, but taller drivers might find the dash shape problematic for knee placement. Interior storage was limited, and the cargo area in hatchback models was decent, with the back seats folding down for more space.
Performance
2021 Toyota Corolla
8/10
2021 MINI Cooper
7/10
The 2021 Toyota Corolla SE and XSE featured a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 169 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. Paired with a Dynamic Shift CVT, paddle shifters, and a Sport driving mode, the drivetrain offered a surprisingly engaging experience. The CVT, with its mechanical first gear and ten programmed ratios, provided a smooth and responsive drive. Built on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform, the Corolla boasted a low center of gravity and enjoyable driving dynamics. The SE and XSE trims had 18-inch aluminum wheels and more aggressive tires, enhancing their handling. While not a sport sedan, the Corolla XSE offered predictable handling and enough power to make driving enjoyable. The EPA estimated 34 mpg in combined driving, and real-world tests averaged 31.1 mpg. The 2021 MINI Cooper offered four powertrain options. The base model had a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine with 134 horsepower, while the Cooper S featured a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 189 hp. The John Cooper Works (JCW) had a 228-hp turbo-four, and the JCW GP boasted a 301-hp turbo-four. All models were front-wheel drive, with a six-speed manual standard for the Cooper and Cooper S, and a seven-speed automatic available. The JCW GP had an eight-speed automatic. The MINI's small size made it feel spritely and energetic, with the turbocharged engines providing noticeable power differences. The JCW GP offered the best acceleration. However, the Cooper's stiff ride could be tiresome on long drives, and it felt twitchy at higher speeds. The tradeoff was agile handling and engaging driving dynamics. Fuel economy varied, with the most efficient model being the Convertible at 28/37/31 mpg.
Form and function
2021 Toyota Corolla
6/10
2021 MINI Cooper
4/10
The 2021 Toyota Corolla XSE offered numerous upgrades, including SofTex leatherette seats with striped fabric inserts, front-seat heating, and an eight-way power driver's seat. This provided added comfort and a commanding driving position. The rear seats, while supportive, had tight headroom and legroom, and lacked air conditioning vents. The Corolla sedan's trunk offered 13.1 cubic feet of cargo space, while the hatchback provided 17.8 cubic feet. However, the sedan's trunk lid lacked an interior handle for easy closing. The 2021 MINI Cooper's interior was more suited for cargo storage than passengers, especially in the rear seats. The front seats were comfortable with decent head and legroom, but taller drivers might find the dash shape problematic. Interior storage was limited, with small center console storage and door pockets. The Cooper Hatchback offered decent cargo space, with the back seats folding down for more storage. Convertible models had a small cargo hold under the folding top compartment, with very little usable space in the back.
Technology
2021 Toyota Corolla
9/10
2021 MINI Cooper
5/10
The 2021 Toyota Corolla added Android Auto as standard equipment, joining Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, and SiriusXM satellite radio. It also included a free year of Safety Connect services and a Wi-Fi hotspot. The SE and XSE trims featured an 8-inch touchscreen, with the XSE offering additional features like Service Connect and Remote Connect. The nine-speaker JBL premium sound system and dynamic voice recognition were available, though the radio knobs could be hard to grasp, and the JBL system lacked clarity. The 2021 MINI Cooper's base screen was a 6.5-inch unit, with an optional 8.8-inch unit offering SiriusXM, Apple CarPlay, and more. Optional features included a Harman Kardon sound system, automatic climate controls, and LED headlights. MINI included more physical controls, improving the technology experience. However, Android Auto was not available, and the iDrive controller was difficult to use due to the tight space. Some users might prefer the touchscreen for easier interaction.
Safety
2021 Toyota Corolla
9/10
2021 MINI Cooper
5/10
The 2021 Toyota Corolla came with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, pedestrian and cyclist detection, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, lane-centering assistance, and automatic high-beam headlights. The Corolla also added rear side-impact airbags and a blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic warning. The 2020 Corolla earned a "Top Safety Pick" from the IIHS and a 5-star overall rating from the NHTSA, but the 2021 model needed re-testing due to new airbags. The 2021 MINI Cooper missed out on a Top Safety Pick designation from the IIHS, scoring "Good" in crash tests but "Acceptable" or "Poor" for headlights. The front crash prevention systems earned "Advanced" scores, and the LATCH system was rated "Marginal." The NHTSA had not rated the 2021 model. Standard safety features included forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and rear parking sensors, with optional features like front parking sensors, parking assistance, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning.
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