2019 MINI Countryman vs. 2018 Fiat 500X

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Countryman has standard Park Distance Control to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or, optionally, in front of the vehicle. The 500X doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

The Countryman’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The 500X doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Countryman and the 500X have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee 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, available all wheel drive and crash mitigating brakes.

Warranty

The Countryman’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the 500X’s (12 vs. 5 years).

MINI pays for scheduled maintenance on the Countryman for 3 years and 36,000 miles. MINI will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Fiat doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the 500X.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Countryman’s engine. A rubber belt that needs periodic replacement drives the 500X Pop’s camshafts. If the 500X’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Countryman’s reliability 20 points higher than the 500X.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that MINI vehicles are more reliable than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 17th in reliability. With 39 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 29th.

Engine

The Countryman has more powerful engines than the 500X:

 

Horsepower

Torque

Countryman S 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

189 HP

207 lbs.-ft.

JCW Countryman 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

228 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

500X Pop 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

160 HP

184 lbs.-ft.

500X 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

180 HP

175 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Countryman S is faster than the Fiat 500X (automatics tested):

 

Countryman

500X

Zero to 30 MPH

3.1 sec

3.8 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

9.8 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

5.3 sec

5.9 sec

Quarter Mile

16.5 sec

17.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

87 MPH

81.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Countryman gets better fuel mileage than the 500X:

 

 

Countryman

500X

 

2WD

Base/Auto

24 city/32 hwy

22 city/30 hwy

2.4 4 cyl./Auto

 

S/Auto

23 city/32 hwy

n/a

 

4WD

Base/Manual

22 city/32 hwy

n/a

 

 

S/Manual

21 city/30 hwy

n/a

 

 

JCW/Manual

21 city/30 hwy

n/a

 

 

Base/Auto

23 city/30 hwy

21 city/29 hwy

2.4 4 cyl./Auto

 

S/Auto

22 city/31 hwy

n/a

 

 

JCW/Auto

22 city/30 hwy

n/a

 

Regenerative brakes improve the Countryman’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The 500X doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The Countryman has 3.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the 500X (16.1 vs. 12.7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

The Countryman stops much shorter than the 500X:

 

Countryman

500X

 

60 to 0 MPH

120 feet

130 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

130 feet

146 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Countryman has larger tires than the 500X (225/55R17 vs. 215/60R16).

The Countryman’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 500X Pop’s standard 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Countryman has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the 500X Pop. The Countryman’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels optional on the 500X AWD Trekking/Lounge.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the Countryman can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The 500X doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Countryman offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The 500X’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Countryman’s wheelbase is 3.9 inches longer than on the 500X (105.1 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Countryman is 1.2 inches wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the 500X.

The Countryman S ALL4 handles at .83 G’s, while the 500X Trekking AWD pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Countryman S ALL4 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.5 seconds quicker than the 500X Trekking AWD (27.2 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.7 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The Countryman has 5.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 500X (96.9 vs. 91.7).

The Countryman has .8 inches more front headroom, .5 inches more front shoulder room, 2.8 inches more rear legroom and 1.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the 500X.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Countryman’s rear seats recline. The 500X’s rear seats don’t recline.

Flexibility is maximized at the game, campground or a drive-in theatre in the Countryman when its optional tailgating rear seats are deployed, allowing people to sit facing out of the liftgate. (Do not use while vehicle is in motion.) The 500X doesn’t offer tailgating seats.

Cargo Capacity

The Countryman has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the 500X with its rear seat up (17.6 vs. 12.2 cubic feet). The Countryman has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the 500X with its rear seat folded (47.6 vs. 32.1 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just waving your foot can open the Countryman’s liftgate, leaving your hands completely free. The 500X doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its cargo door, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the Countryman, the optional memory seats make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position. The 500X doesn’t offer memory seats.

The Countryman offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The 500X doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

If the windows are left open on the Countryman the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the 500X can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Countryman has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The 500X doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The Countryman’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The 500X’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Countryman to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The 500X doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Countryman has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The 500X has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Trekking/Lounge.

To better shield the driver’s vision, the Countryman has a standard dual-element sun visor that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The 500X doesn’t offer a secondary sun visor.

The Countryman offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The 500X offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Countryman offers an optional center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The 500X doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the Countryman has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The 500X doesn’t offer rear vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Countryman offers an optional Active Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The 500X doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Bluetooth wireless connectivity is standard on the Countryman, connecting the driver and passenger’s cell phones to the vehicle systems. This allows them to use the vehicle’s stereo and hand controls to place calls safely and easily. Bluetooth costs extra on the 500X.

The Countryman’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The 500X doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Countryman is less expensive to operate than the 500X because typical repairs cost less on the Countryman than the 500X, including $16 less for a water pump, $187 less for fuel injection and $163 less for a fuel pump.

Recommendations

The MINI Countryman outsold the Fiat 500X by almost two to one during 2017.

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

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