2019 MINI Countryman vs. 2019 Fiat 500X

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes and front parking sensors.

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 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 56 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 S’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 12 more horsepower (189 vs. 177) than the 500X’s 1.3 turbo 4 cyl. The JCW Countryman’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 51 more horsepower (228 vs. 177) and 48 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 210) than the 500X’s 1.3 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

 

MPG

Countryman

FWD

Manual

1.5 turbo 3 cyl.

24 city/33 hwy

 

Auto

1.5 turbo 3 cyl.

24 city/32 hwy

 

 

S 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/32 hwy

AWD

Manual

1.5 turbo 3 cyl.

22 city/32 hwy

 

Auto

1.5 turbo 3 cyl.

23 city/30 hwy

 

 

S 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/31 hwy

 

 

JCW 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

500X

AWD

Auto

2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

23 city/29 hwy

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.

Transmission

The Countryman offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The 500X doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

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. 215/60R17).

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 AWD’s standard 60 series tires. The Countryman’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the 500X AWD Trekking/Trekking Plus’ optional 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Countryman offers optional 19-inch wheels. The 500X’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

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 1.3 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the 500X.

The Countryman S ALL4 handles at .83 G’s, while the 500X Trekking 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 (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 volume 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 volume with its rear seat folded than the 500X with its rear seat folded (47.6 vs. 32.1 cubic feet).

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just waving your foot can open the Countryman’s power liftgate, leaving your hands completely free. The Countryman’s power liftgate can also be opened or closed by pressing a button. The 500X doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.

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 only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

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.

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.

Model Availability

The Countryman is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The 500X doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

The Countryman will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Countryman will retain 48.66% to 51.06% of its original price after five years, while the 500X only retains 35.57% to 36.62%.

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

Consumer Reports® recommends the MINI Countryman, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Fiat 500X isn't recommended.

The MINI Countryman outsold the Fiat 500X by over three to one during 2018.

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

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