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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
Good," frontal offset impact; "acceptable," side impact
Four stars, front impacts; five stars, side impacts
Crash tests show that while the 2009 MINI Cooper isn't the best performer, it certainly fares better than much of its competition.
The 2009 MINI Cooper hardtop has been crash-tested by both major testing authorities in the United States, and the results are slightly above average for the class. In IIHS tests, the 2009 MINI Cooper earned the top score of "good" in the frontal offset impact category and a second-best rating of "acceptable" for side impact collisions. NHTSA reversed the IIHS' marks for the MINI Cooper hardtop, with the 2009 MINI Cooper earning four out of five stars in both front impact categories and a perfect five-star rating for NHTSA's side impact test. In the side passenger impact category, the 2009 MINI Cooper earned another four stars. As you might expect, the squat 2009 MINI Cooper is very resistant to rollovers, earning NHTSA's highest rating in the rollover risk category.
The MINI Cooper may be small, but it is by no means an economy car. This is evident throughout the 2009 MINI Cooper, but it is particularly noticeable when you look over the MINI Cooper's safety features. According to J.D. Power reviewers, the MINI Cooper's "safety features include standard dual front airbags, dual front seat side-impact airbags, and side curtain airbags for both rows of seats." TheCarConnection.com is also impressed to learn that DSC, MINI's stability-control system, is now standard across the 2009 MINI Cooper lineup. Other standard safety features include "Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Cornering Brake Control," reports Motor Trend, while "Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) is available as an option." Last but not least, Edmunds states that "all 2009 MINI Coopers come standard with antilock disc brakes" on all four wheels.
According to reviews read by TheCarConnection.com, visibility from the driver's seat of the MINI Cooper is outstanding. MyRide.com says driving the 2009 MINI Cooper "is like driving a fishbowl, partly because you get a lot of attention, but also because it's so easy to see out of," thanks to the fact that the "pillars are thin and virtually disappear," while the "rear seat head restraints are tucked down next to the seatbacks."
Besides having excellent accident-avoidance ability, the 2009 MINI Cooper proves that you don't have to completely sacrifice safety in a small car.