2020 Kia Niro vs. 2020 MINI Countryman

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/07

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Kia Niro 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 Niro has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Countryman doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Autonomous Emergency Braking optional in the Niro as “Superior.” The Countryman scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The Niro LXS/Touring/Touring Special Edition/EX Premium’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 Niro LXS/Touring/Touring Special Edition/EX Premium’s 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 Niro LXS/Touring/Touring Special Edition/EX Premium’s 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.

Both the Niro and the Countryman have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver 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, available rear parking sensors and driver alert monitors.

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, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Niro its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 54 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Countryman has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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The Niro comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Countryman’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Niro 6 years and 50,000 miles longer than MINI covers the Countryman. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Countryman ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 6 times as many Kia dealers as there are MINI dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Niro’s warranty.

Reliability

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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 Niro’s reliability 18 points higher than the Countryman.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than MINI vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 37 more problems per 100 vehicles, MINI is ranked 23rd, below the industry average.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than MINI vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 1 place higher in reliability than MINI.

Engine

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The Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 5 more horsepower (139 vs. 134) and 33 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 162) than the Countryman’s standard 1.5 turbo 3-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Kia Niro is faster than the MINI Countryman (base engine):

Niro

Countryman

Zero to 60 MPH

8.9 sec

9.3 sec

Quarter Mile

16.8 sec

17 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

83 MPH

79.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/07

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

MPG

Niro

FWD

LX 1.6 4-cyl. Hybrid

52 city/49 hwy

LXS/EX 1.6 4-cyl. Hybrid

51 city/46 hwy

Touring 1.6 4-cyl. Hybrid

46 city/40 hwy

Countryman

FWD

1.5 turbo 3-cyl.

26 city/33 hwy

S 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

24 city/33 hwy

AWD

1.5 turbo 3-cyl.

24 city/33 hwy

S 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/31 hwy

JCW 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/30 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Niro uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Countryman requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Kia Niro higher (7 out of 10) than the MINI Countryman (3 to 7). This means the Niro produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Countryman every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Niro stops much shorter than the Countryman:

Niro

Countryman

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Niro’s wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer than on the Countryman (106.3 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

The Niro Touring Special Edition handles at .82 G’s, while the Countryman ALL4 pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Niro Touring Special Edition executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Countryman ALL4 (27.3 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Niro’s turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the Countryman’s (34.8 feet vs. 37.4 feet).

Chassis

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The design of the Kia Niro amounts to more than styling. The Niro has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .29 Cd. That is lower than the Countryman (.32 to .33) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Niro get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

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The Niro has 4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Countryman (100.9 vs. 96.9).

The Niro has 1.3 inches more front legroom, 1.2 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear headroom and 1.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Countryman.

Cargo Capacity

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The Niro has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Countryman with its rear seat up (19.4 vs. 17.6 cubic feet). The Niro has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Countryman with its rear seat folded (54.5 vs. 47.6 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Niro 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.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Niro has standard extendable sun visors. The Countryman doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Niro EX Premium 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 Niro EX Premium’s standard 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 Niro 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.

The Niro (except FE/LX/S Touring) offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Countryman doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Niro owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Niro will cost $405 less than the Countryman over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Kia Niro will be $5955 to $12048 less than for the MINI Countryman.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/07

The Kia Niro outsold the MINI Countryman by 68% during the 2019 model year.

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

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