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The Countryman offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Kicks doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The MINI Countryman has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Kicks doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.
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 Kicks doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the Countryman and the Kicks 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, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes and front parking sensors.
The MINI Countryman weighs 628 to 1032 pounds more than the Nissan Kicks. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.
The Countryman comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Kicks’ 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
The Countryman’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Kicks’ (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. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Kicks.
To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Countryman has a standard 150-amp alternator. The Kicks’ 120-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that MINI vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks MINI 5 places higher in reliability than Nissan.
The Countryman’s standard 1.5 turbo 3 cyl. produces 12 more horsepower (134 vs. 122) and 48 lbs.-ft. more torque (162 vs. 114) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. The Countryman S’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 67 more horsepower (189 vs. 122) and 93 lbs.-ft. more torque (207 vs. 114) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. The JCW Countryman’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 106 more horsepower (228 vs. 122) and 144 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 114) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.
As tested in Motor Trend the MINI Countryman is faster than the Nissan Kicks (automatics tested):
Zero to 60 MPH
Speed in 1/4 Mile
Regenerative brakes improve the Countryman’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Kicks doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
The Countryman has 5.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Kicks (16.1 vs. 10.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The MINI Countryman has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the Kicks. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.
The Countryman stops shorter than the Kicks:
60 to 0 MPH
For better traction, the Countryman has larger tires than the Kicks (225/55R17 vs. 205/60R16).
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 Kicks S’ standard 60 series tires. The Countryman’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Kicks SV/SR’s 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Countryman has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Kicks S. The Countryman’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Kicks SV/SR.
The MINI Countryman’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Nissan Kicks only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.
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 Kicks doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
For superior ride and handling, the MINI Countryman has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Nissan Kicks has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.
The Countryman has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Kicks’ suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.
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 Kicks’ suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Countryman’s wheelbase is 2 inches longer than on the Kicks (105.1 inches vs. 103.1 inches).
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Countryman is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 1.6 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Kicks.
The Countryman S ALL4 handles at .83 G’s, while the Kicks SR pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
The Countryman S ALL4 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2 seconds quicker than the Kicks SR (27.2 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .55 average G’s).
The Countryman has 3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Kicks (96.9 vs. 93.9).
The Countryman has 1.8 inches more front shoulder room, 4.4 inches more rear legroom and .8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Kicks.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Countryman’s rear seats recline. The Kicks’ 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 Kicks doesn’t offer tailgating seats.
The Countryman has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Kicks with its rear seat folded (47.6 vs. 32.3 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 Kicks doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.
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 Kicks 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 Kicks 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 Kicks can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
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 Kicks’ 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 Kicks doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Countryman detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Kicks doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Countryman offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Kicks doesn’t offer cornering lights.
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 Kicks doesn’t offer a secondary sun visor.
The Countryman’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan only offers heated mirrors on the Kicks SV/SR.
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 Kicks 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 Kicks doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.
The Countryman’s optional dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Kicks doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.
Both the Countryman and the Kicks offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Countryman has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Kicks SV/SR doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
To direct the driver from any location to a given street address, a GPS navigation system is available on the Countryman. The Countryman’s navigation system also has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Kicks doesn’t offer a navigation system.
With standard voice command, the Countryman offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Kicks doesn’t offer a voice control system.
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 Kicks doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
Consumer Reports® recommends the MINI Countryman, based on reliability, safety and performance.
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