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Virtual Adviser's™ opinion
Two significantly similar cars, no doubt about that. Still, each one has something different to offer. Having both cars powered by petrol engines and utilizing the 3-door hatchback body style within the same 'Micro car' segment, the only major difference here really is their wheel drive configuration (front for the Mini and rear in the case of the Smart). The first one has a BMW-engineered powertrain under the hood, a 3-cylinder, 12-valves 136hp unit, while the other one gets its power and torque from a 4-cylinder, 16-valves 70hp engine designed by Renault.Safety
A starting point here would be to take a look at the results from European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) tests which were performed on both of the cars, with the Mini being a slightly better choice apparently. Moving further on, let's take a closer look at some additional safety-related facts. Both vehicles belong to the micro car segment, which is generally a misfortune safety-wise, but it doesn't do much to help us decide between the two. Furthermore, when it comes to weight, a factor that most people underestimate, the British car offers a potentially life-saving difference of 34% more metal.Reliability
Reliability is not the best thing to consider on the make level, but it is worth mentioning that Smart does have a slight advantage, when all the models are taken into account. These are the results of an independent reasearch, while our visitors describe reliability of Mini with an average rating of 4.0, and models under the Smart badge with 3.9 out of 5. Unfortunatelly, I don't have enough insight that would allow me to comment in more details on the specific models level. We should definitely mention that owners of cars with the same powertrain as the British car rank it on average as 3.0 out of 5, exactly the same as the other one.Performance & Fuel economy
Mini is way more agile, reaching 100km/h in 6.5 seconds less than its competitor. In addition to that it accelerates all the way to 210 kilometers per hour, 59km/h more than the other car. When it comes to fuel economy things look pretty much the same for both cars, averaging around 4.3 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (66 mpg), in combined cycle.
Smart appears just a bit more reliable, although the difference is truly marginal. The most important thing when deciding between any two vehicles should always be safety, both passive and active. In my opinion, everything taken into account, the British car beats the other contender by far, making it the best choice without even considering other things. It all continues in the same direction, with Mini outracing its opponent in any situation possible, making it better choice for boy racers. It does come at a cost though, and that's the fuel consumption... All together, there's not much more to say, in this case I wouldn't even consider anything but Mini. Nevertheless, let's not forget that people have different preferences and needs, so what really counts is your personal feel. I'm only here to help. In case you have two minutes to spare I invite you to define your needs, desires and budget and see which car would be chosen by the virtual adviser™, among thousands of similar, yet so different vehicles.