2020 Acura RDX vs. 2019 MINI Countryman

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Acura RDX 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 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Collision Mitigating Braking System in the RDX as “Superior.” The Countryman scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The RDX’s 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 RDX Advance has a standard Surround-View Camera System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Countryman only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The RDX’s optional 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 RDX’s optional 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 RDX has standard AcuraLink, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or 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 RDX and the Countryman have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, 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 IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RDX its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 46 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Countryman has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the RDX 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than MINI covers the Countryman. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Countryman ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 2 times as many Acura dealers as there are MINI dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the RDX’s warranty.

Engine

The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 138 more horsepower (272 vs. 134) and 118 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 162) than the Countryman’s standard 1.5 turbo 3-cyl. The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 83 more horsepower (272 vs. 189) and 73 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 207) than the Countryman S’ standard 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 44 more horsepower (272 vs. 228) and 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 258) than the JCW Countryman’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Acura RDX is faster than the MINI Countryman (automatics tested):

RDX

Countryman

Countryman S

Zero to 60 MPH

6.4 sec

9.3 sec

7.4 sec

Quarter Mile

14.8 sec

17 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94.7 MPH

79.6 MPH

86.7 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the RDX’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Countryman doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The RDX has a gallon more fuel capacity than the Countryman (17.1 vs. 16.1 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The RDX has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Countryman doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

The Acura RDX comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Countryman.

A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Acura RDX, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Countryman.

Brakes and Stopping

The RDX stops much shorter than the Countryman:

RDX

Countryman

60 to 0 MPH

116 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

129 feet

130 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the RDX has larger standard tires than the Countryman (235/55R19 vs. 225/55R17). The RDX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Countryman (255/40R20 vs. 225/55R17).

The RDX A-Spec’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Countryman’s optional 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RDX has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Countryman. The RDX A-Spec’s 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the Countryman.

The RDX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Countryman doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RDX’s wheelbase is 3.2 inches longer than on the Countryman (108.3 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RDX is 2.3 inches wider in the front and 2.7 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Countryman.

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

The RDX AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the Countryman ALL4 (27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the RDX has a 1.7 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Countryman (8.2 vs. 6.5 inches), allowing the RDX to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The RDX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Countryman doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The RDX has 7.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Countryman (104 vs. 96.9).

The RDX has 1.2 inches more front legroom, 4.9 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear headroom, .8 inches more rear legroom and 2.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Countryman.

Cargo Capacity

The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Countryman with its rear seat up (31.1 vs. 17.6 cubic feet). The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Countryman with its rear seat folded (79.8 vs. 47.6 cubic feet).

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

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the RDX. The Countryman doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

The RDX has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The Countryman has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Acura service is better than MINI. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 13% lower rating, MINI is ranked 10th.

Ergonomics

The RDX has a standard 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 RDX 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.

The RDX has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the Countryman. The RDX Advance also has standard 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 RDX 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 RDX’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.

The RDX has a standard 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. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Countryman.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the RDX owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the RDX will cost $1075 to $2385 less than the Countryman over a five-year period.

The RDX will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the RDX will retain 51.89% to 53.05% of its original price after five years, while the Countryman only retains 48.66% to 51.06%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RDX is less expensive to operate than the Countryman because it costs $9 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the RDX than the Countryman, including $24 less for a water pump, $106 less for a muffler, $94 less for front struts and $348 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

The Acura RDX outsold the MINI Countryman by almost four to one during 2018.

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

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