2020 MINI Countryman vs. 2019 Mazda CX-3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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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 CX-3 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 has standard Park Distance Control to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or, optionally, in front of the vehicle. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

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 CX-3 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 Mazda CX-3 has a metal gas tank.

Both the Countryman and the CX-3 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available all wheel drive.

Warranty

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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 CX-3’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 CX-3’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. Mazda doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the CX-3.

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 Countryman’s reliability 16 points higher than the CX-3.

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 Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 40 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.

Engine

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The Countryman’s standard 1.5 turbo 3 cyl. produces 16 lbs.-ft. more torque (162 vs. 146) than the CX-3’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The Countryman S’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 41 more horsepower (189 vs. 148) and 60 lbs.-ft. more torque (206 vs. 146) than the CX-3’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The JCW Countryman’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 153 more horsepower (301 vs. 148) and 185 lbs.-ft. more torque (331 vs. 146) than the CX-3’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Countryman S 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Mazda CX-3:

Countryman

CX-3

Zero to 30 MPH

3.1 sec

3.5 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

9.6 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

5.3 sec

5.9 sec

Quarter Mile

16.5 sec

17.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

87 MPH

82.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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Regenerative brakes improve the Countryman’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The CX-3 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Countryman’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 CX-3 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Countryman has 4.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-3 AWD’s standard fuel tank (16.1 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Countryman has 3.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-3 FWD’s standard fuel tank (16.1 vs. 12.7 gallons).

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is available on the MINI Countryman, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the CX-3.

The Countryman offers a standard 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 CX-3 doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

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 CX-3 doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Countryman stops much shorter than the CX-3:

Countryman

CX-3

60 to 0 MPH

120 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

130 feet

148 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Countryman has larger tires than the CX-3 (225/55R17 vs. 215/60R16).

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 CX-3 Sport’s standard 60 series tires. The Countryman’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the CX-3 Grand Touring/Touring’s 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Countryman has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the CX-3 Sport. The Countryman’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the CX-3 Grand Touring/Touring.

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 CX-3 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

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 Mazda CX-3 has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Countryman has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The CX-3’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Countryman has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Countryman flat and controlled during cornering. The CX-3’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 CX-3’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 CX-3 (105.1 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Countryman is 2 inches wider in the front and 2.1 inches wider in the rear than the track on the CX-3.

The Countryman S ALL4 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the CX-3 Grand Touring AWD (27.2 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .66 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Countryman has a greater minimum ground clearance than the CX-3 (6.5 vs. 6.1 inches), allowing the Countryman to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Countryman’s minimum ground clearance is .3 inch higher than on the CX-3 Touring/Grand Touring (6.5 vs. 6.2 inches).

Passenger Space

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The Countryman has 9.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CX-3 (96.9 vs. 87.6).

The Countryman has 2.1 inches more front headroom, 1.3 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom, 2.6 inches more rear legroom and 3.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the CX-3.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Countryman’s rear seats recline. The CX-3’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 CX-3 doesn’t offer tailgating seats.

Cargo Capacity

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The Countryman has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the CX-3 with its rear seat up (17.6 vs. 12.4 cubic feet). The Countryman has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the CX-3 with its rear seat folded (47.6 vs. 44.5 cubic feet).

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 CX-3 doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.

Ergonomics

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The power windows standard on both the Countryman and the CX-3 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Countryman is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The CX-3 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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 CX-3’s passenger windows don’t 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 CX-3 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 CX-3’s power window (except driver 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 CX-3’s standard 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 CX-3 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Countryman has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The CX-3 only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

The Countryman’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Mazda only offers heated mirrors on the CX-3 Touring/Grand Touring.

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 CX-3’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 CX-3 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 CX-3 doesn’t offer dual zone air-conditioning.

Both the Countryman and the CX-3 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 CX-3 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 CX-3 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Countryman owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Countryman with a number “5” insurance rate while the CX-3 is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Countryman is less expensive to operate than the CX-3 because typical repairs cost less on the Countryman than the CX-3, including $148 less for fuel injection.

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 2019/11/19

Consumer Reports® recommends the MINI Countryman, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Mazda CX-3 isn't recommended.

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 CX-3 isn’t in the top three.

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

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