2019 MINI Countryman vs. 2019 Subaru Forester

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Countryman and the Forester 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 and crash mitigating brakes.

Warranty

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 Forester’s 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 Forester’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. Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Forester.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that MINI vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 12th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 25 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th, below the industry average.

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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 17th in reliability. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 24th.

Engine

The Countryman S’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 7 more horsepower (189 vs. 182) and 31 lbs.-ft. more torque (207 vs. 176) than the Forester’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The JCW Countryman’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 46 more horsepower (228 vs. 182) and 82 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 176) than the Forester’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the MINI Countryman is faster than the Subaru Forester (automatics tested):

 

Countryman

Countryman S

Forester

Zero to 60 MPH

9.3 sec

7.4 sec

9.6 sec

Quarter Mile

17 sec

15.7 sec

17.3 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

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

Brakes and Stopping

The Countryman stops much shorter than the Forester:

 

Countryman

Forester

 

60 to 0 MPH

120 feet

130 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

130 feet

138 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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 Forester’s standard 60 series tires. The Countryman’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Forester Sport/Limited/Touring’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Countryman offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Forester’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 Forester 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 Forester’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Countryman S ALL4 handles at .83 G’s, while the Forester Touring pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Countryman S ALL4 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Forester Touring (27.2 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

Chassis

The Countryman is 1 foot shorter than the Forester, making the Countryman easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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 Forester doesn’t offer tailgating seats.

Cargo Capacity

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 Forester doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

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 Forester 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 Forester 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 Forester’s 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 Forester doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

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 Forester doesn’t offer a secondary sun visor.

The Countryman’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Heated mirrors cost extra on the Forester and aren’t offered on the Forester Base.

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 Forester doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the MINI Countryman and the Subaru Forester, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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