2020 Kia Soul vs. 2019 MINI Countryman

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Kia Soul 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 Soul S/EX/GT-Line’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 Soul (except LX)’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 Soul (except LX)’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 Soul GT-Line Turbo has standard 911 Connect, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to 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 Soul and the Countryman have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes and driver alert monitors.

Warranty

The Soul 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 Soul 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 Soul’s warranty.

Reliability

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 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than MINI vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 4 places higher in reliability than MINI.

Engine

As tested in Motor Trend the Soul GT-Line Turbo is faster than the Countryman S (automatics tested):

Soul

Countryman

Zero to 60 MPH

6.5 sec

7.4 sec

Quarter Mile

15 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93.7 MPH

86.7 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Soul

FWD

Auto

EX 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/35 hwy

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/33 hwy

GT Turbo 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.

27 city/32 hwy

Countryman

FWD

Auto

1.5 turbo 3 cyl.

24 city/32 hwy

S 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/32 hwy

AWD

Auto

1.5 turbo 3 cyl.

23 city/30 hwy

S 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/31 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Soul Auto’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.

Transmission

The Soul offers an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Countryman doesn’t offer a CVT.

The Soul offers an available sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Countryman doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

The Soul stops much shorter than the Countryman:

Soul

Countryman

60 to 0 MPH

114 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Soul X-Line/GT-Line’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Countryman (235/45R18 vs. 225/55R17).

Suspension and Handling

The Soul GT-Line Turbo handles at .86 G’s, while the Countryman ALL4 pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Soul GT-Line Turbo executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.5 seconds quicker than the Countryman ALL4 (26.8 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

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

Chassis

The Kia Soul may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 to 650 pounds less than the MINI Countryman.

The Soul is 4.6 inches shorter than the Countryman, making the Soul easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Soul has 5.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Countryman (102.2 vs. 96.9).

The Soul has .7 inches more front legroom, .7 inches more front shoulder room, 2 inches more rear headroom, 1.2 inches more rear legroom and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Countryman.

Cargo Capacity

The Soul has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Countryman with its rear seat up (24.2 vs. 17.6 cubic feet). The Soul has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Countryman with its rear seat folded (62.1 vs. 47.6 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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

On extremely cold winter days, the Soul GT-Line Turbo’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.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Soul owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Soul with a number “1” insurance rate while the Countryman is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Soul is less expensive to operate than the Countryman because typical repairs cost less on the Soul than the Countryman, including $111 less for a water pump, $196 less for a muffler, $58 less for front brake pads, $95 less for a starter, $117 less for a fuel pump, $192 less for front struts and $86 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

The Kia Soul outsold the MINI Countryman by almost six to one during 2018.

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

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