The mini 14 could more accurately be described as mopar vs Chevy! The parts are a bit more expensive, but usually higher quality(exceptions always occur) the mini will supposedly last longer due to the piston bolt keeping it cooler, so after tens o thousands of rounds, it will have less wear. It will be a little heavier, and a little more difficult to find "video game" accessories for.
The AR is the Chevy! Produced by the millions with most parts interchangeable from one to another. Many low quality, poorly designed crap available at cheap prices. It will run hotter on the bolt and require more frequent deep cleaning. The cleaning procedure will also take more time to complete(unless you are military and have been trained repetitively) you can find just about any kind of toy to put on an AR with very little searching.
I have 2 ARs. Haven't even fired one of them yet, but I enjoy the hell out of the other one. It's all "video gamed out" with a red dot sight, fore grip, and light attachment. Am i EVER gaining to use the lights and crap? Hell no, but it looks cool and it's fun to shoot. My dad has a mini 14. I love shooting it too, but it's more difficult to find "video game" crap for as said above. It really is preference on which gun feels an looks better to you! Sturgio has a mini, and I'm sure if we all got together, you could do a side by side comparison.
The difference between stupidity and ignorance. Ignorance is doing something wrong and not knowing better. Stupidity is knowing better, but doing it anyway. Don't be stupid!