2019 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2019 MINI Countryman

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Mazda CX-5 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The MINI Countryman doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The CX-5 has standard Whiplash-Reducing Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash-Reducing Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Countryman doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Smart City Brake Support optional in the CX-5 as “Superior.” The Countryman scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The CX-5’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Countryman doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The CX-5’s blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Countryman doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the CX-5’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Countryman doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The CX-5 has standard E911 Automatic Emergency Notification, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Countryman doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the CX-5 and the Countryman have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available all wheel drive.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the CX-5 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Countryman was last qualified as only a “Top Pick” in 2016.

Warranty

Mazda’s powertrain warranty covers the CX-5 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than MINI covers the Countryman. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the Countryman ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 5 times as many Mazda dealers as there are MINI dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the CX-5’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than MINI vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 14th in reliability. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, MINI is ranked 17th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than MINI vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. MINI is ranked 9th.

Engine

The CX-5 has more powerful engines than the Countryman:

 

Horsepower

Torque

CX-5 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

187 HP

186 lbs.-ft.

CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature 2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

250 HP

310 lbs.-ft.

Countryman 1.5 turbo 3 cyl.

134 HP

162 lbs.-ft.

Countryman S 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

189 HP

207 lbs.-ft.

JCW Countryman 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

228 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the Mazda CX-5 (base engine) is faster than the MINI Countryman turbo 3 cyl. (automatics tested):

 

CX-5

Countryman

Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

9.3 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

17 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

80.4 MPH

79.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the CX-5 AWD with its standard engine gets better fuel mileage than the Countryman ALL4 6-speed Auto turbo 3 cyl. (24 city/30 hwy vs. 23 city/30 hwy).

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the CX-5 non-turbo’s fuel efficiency. The Countryman doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mazda CX-5 higher (7 out of 10) than the MINI Countryman (3 to 7). This means the CX-5 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Countryman every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The Mazda CX-5 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Countryman.

Brakes and Stopping

The CX-5 stops much shorter than the Countryman:

 

CX-5

Countryman

 

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CX-5’s wheelbase is 1.1 inches longer than on the Countryman (106.2 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Countryman ALL4 pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the CX-5’s turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the Countryman’s (36 feet vs. 37.4 feet).

For greater off-road capability the CX-5 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Countryman (7.5 vs. 6.5 inches), allowing the CX-5 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The CX-5 has 6.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Countryman (103.8 vs. 96.9).

The CX-5 has .6 inches more front legroom, 2.3 inches more front shoulder room, 1.5 inches more rear headroom, 2 inches more rear legroom and .8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Countryman.

Cargo Capacity

The CX-5 has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the Countryman with its rear seat up (30.9 vs. 17.6 cubic feet). The CX-5 has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the Countryman with its rear seat folded (59.6 vs. 47.6 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the CX-5’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Countryman doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Towing

The CX-5 has a 2000 lbs. towing capacity. The Countryman has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The CX-5 offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Countryman doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the CX-5 has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Countryman only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

Consumer Reports rated the CX-5’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Countryman’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

The Countryman’s optional cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

Both the CX-5 and the Countryman offer available heated front seats. The CX-5 Grand Touring also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Countryman.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the CX-5 (except Sport/Touring) keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Countryman doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the CX-5 Grand Touring’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Countryman doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the CX-5 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the CX-5 will cost $45 to $1495 less than the Countryman over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-5 is less expensive to operate than the Countryman because it costs $207 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the CX-5 than the Countryman, including $197 less for a water pump, $149 less for a muffler, $55 less for front brake pads, $95 less for a starter, $76 less for a fuel pump, $138 less for front struts, $456 less for a timing belt/chain and $233 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Mazda CX-5 will be $2641 to $6646 less than for the MINI Countryman.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mazda CX-5 and the MINI Countryman, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The CX-5 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” in 2018. The Countryman has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.

The Mazda CX-5 outsold the MINI Countryman by over 8 to one during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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