2020 MINI Countryman vs. 2019 Kia Soul

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/11/21

The Countryman has a standard PostCrash iBrake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Soul doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The Countryman offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Soul doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

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 Soul doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Compared to metal, the Countryman’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Kia Soul has a metal gas tank.

Both the Countryman and the Soul 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 and rearview cameras.

Warranty

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The Countryman’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Soul’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

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. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Soul.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Countryman has a standard 150-amp alternator. The Soul’s standard 110-amp alternator and largest (+/!) 120-amp alternator aren’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that MINI vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.

Engine

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The Countryman has more powerful engines than the Soul:

Horsepower

Torque

Countryman 1.5 turbo 3 cyl.

134 HP

162 lbs.-ft.

Countryman S 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

189 HP

206 lbs.-ft.

JCW Countryman 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

301 HP

331 lbs.-ft.

Soul 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

130 HP

118 lbs.-ft.

Soul + 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

161 HP

150 lbs.-ft.

Soul ! 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.

201 HP

195 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the Countryman S 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Soul + 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. (automatics tested):

Countryman

Soul

Zero to 60 MPH

7.4 sec

8.6 sec

Quarter Mile

15.7 sec

16.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86.7 MPH

84.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/11/21

On the EPA test cycle the Countryman FWD 7-speed Auto turbo 3 cyl. gets better highway fuel mileage than the Soul Auto with its standard engine (26 city/33 hwy vs. 26 city/31 hwy).

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

Regardless of its engine, the Countryman’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Kia only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Soul +.

The Countryman has 1.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Soul (16.1 vs. 14.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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

An eight-speed automatic is available on the MINI Countryman, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the Soul.

To facilitate fast shifting and allow the driver to focus on the road, the Countryman JCW offers an optional up-shift light to indicate when the engine is approaching redline. The Soul doesn’t offer an up-shift light.

The Countryman Auto’s optional launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Soul doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Countryman stops shorter than the Soul:

Countryman

Soul

60 to 0 MPH

120 feet

127 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

130 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Countryman has larger tires than the Soul (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 Soul’s standard 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Countryman has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Soul. The Countryman’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Soul !.

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 Soul doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

The Countryman offers an optional space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Soul; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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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 Kia Soul has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Countryman has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Countryman flat and controlled during cornering. The Soul’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

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 Soul’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Countryman’s wheelbase is 3.9 inches longer than on the Soul (105.1 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

The Countryman S ALL4 handles at .83 G’s, while the Soul ! 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 Soul ! (27.2 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

Passenger Space

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For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Countryman’s rear seats recline. The Soul’s 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 Soul doesn’t offer tailgating seats.

Cargo Capacity

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To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Countryman’s power liftgate can be opened or closed just by waving your foot, leaving your hands completely free. The Soul doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.

Ergonomics

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When two different drivers share the Countryman, the optional memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, power steering assist, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The Soul doesn’t offer a memory system.

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 Soul doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Countryman’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Soul has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

The Countryman’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Soul’s power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically. With the Soul +/!’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

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 Soul can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Countryman’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Soul’s passenger power window and power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

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 Soul’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 Soul 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 Soul 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 Soul doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Countryman’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Kia only offers heated mirrors on the Soul +/!.

When the Countryman with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Soul’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

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 Soul offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

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 Soul doesn’t offer dual zone air-conditioning.

Both the Countryman and the Soul 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 Soul doesn’t offer rear air-conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The Countryman’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Soul doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/11/21

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

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Countryman first among small suvs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Soul isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

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