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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 Kicks 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 Kicks doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The MINI Countryman has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Kicks doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.
The Countryman has standard Assist eCall, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Kicks doesn’t offer a GPS response system, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.
Both the Countryman and the Kicks 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, rearview cameras and available front parking sensors.
The MINI Countryman weighs 580 to 980 pounds more than the Nissan Kicks. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.
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 Kicks’ 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 Kicks’ (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. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Kicks.
To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Countryman has a standard 150-amp alternator. The Kicks’ 120-amp alternator isn’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 Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that MINI vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks MINI 1 place higher in reliability than Nissan.
The Countryman’s standard 1.5 turbo 3-cylinder produces 12 more horsepower (134 vs. 122) and 48 lbs.-ft. more torque (162 vs. 114) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder. The Countryman S’ standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 67 more horsepower (189 vs. 122) and 92 lbs.-ft. more torque (206 vs. 114) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder. The JCW Countryman’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 179 more horsepower (301 vs. 122) and 217 lbs.-ft. more torque (331 vs. 114) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder.
As tested in Motor Trend the MINI Countryman is faster than the Nissan Kicks:
Zero to 60 MPH
Speed in 1/4 Mile
Regenerative brakes improve the Countryman’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Kicks 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 Kicks doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
The Countryman has 5.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Kicks (16.1 vs. 10.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
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 Kicks doesn’t offer launch control.
The MINI Countryman has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the Kicks. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.
The Countryman stops much shorter than the Kicks:
60 to 0 MPH
60 to 0 MPH (Wet)
For better traction, the Countryman has larger tires than the Kicks (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 Kicks S’ standard 60 series tires. The Countryman’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Kicks SV/SR’s 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Countryman has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Kicks S. The Countryman’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Kicks SV/SR.
The MINI Countryman’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Nissan Kicks only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.
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 Kicks doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
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 Nissan Kicks 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 Kicks’ 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 Kicks’ 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 Kicks’ suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Countryman’s wheelbase is 2 inches longer than on the Kicks (105.1 inches vs. 103.1 inches).
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Countryman is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 1.6 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Kicks.
The Countryman S ALL4 handles at .83 G’s, while the Kicks SR pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
The Countryman S ALL4 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2 seconds quicker than the Kicks SR (27.2 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .55 average G’s).
The design of the MINI Countryman amounts to more than styling. The Countryman offers aerodynamic coefficients of drag from .32 to .33 Cd (depending on bodystyle and options). That is lower than the Kicks (.334 to .344) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Countryman get better fuel mileage.
The Countryman has 3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Kicks (96.9 vs. 93.9).
The Countryman has 1.8 inches more front shoulder room, 4.4 inches more rear legroom and .8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Kicks.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Countryman’s rear seats recline. The Kicks’ 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 Kicks doesn’t offer tailgating seats.
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 Kicks doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.
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 Kicks 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 Kicks 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 Kicks 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 power windows standard on both the Countryman and the Kicks 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 Kicks 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 Kicks’ 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 Kicks can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
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 Kicks’ 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 Kicks doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Countryman offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Kicks doesn’t offer cornering lights.
The Countryman’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan only offers heated mirrors on the Kicks SV/SR.
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 Kicks’ mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.
The Countryman’s optional rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Kicks offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
The Countryman offers an optional center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable and it can provide a boundary between children. The Kicks doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.
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 Kicks doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.
Both the Countryman and the Kicks 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 Kicks SV/SR doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Countryman offers an optional Active Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Kicks doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
To direct the driver from any location to a given street address, a GPS navigation system is available on the Countryman. The Countryman’s navigation system also has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Kicks doesn’t offer a navigation system.
With standard voice command, the Countryman offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Kicks doesn’t offer a voice control system.
To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the MINI Countryman offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Kicks doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
The Countryman’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Kicks doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
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 Kicks isn’t in the top three.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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