2020 MINI Countryman vs. 2020 Subaru Impreza

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 2019/12/09

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 Impreza 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.

Both the Countryman and the Impreza have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, 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 Impreza’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 Impreza’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. Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Impreza.

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 Impreza’s 130-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that MINI vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 23rd in initial quality. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th.

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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

Engine

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The Countryman’s standard 1.5 turbo 3 cyl. produces 17 lbs.-ft. more torque (162 vs. 145) than the Impreza’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The Countryman S’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 37 more horsepower (189 vs. 152) and 61 lbs.-ft. more torque (206 vs. 145) than the Impreza’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The JCW Countryman’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 149 more horsepower (301 vs. 152) and 186 lbs.-ft. more torque (331 vs. 145) than the Impreza’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

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

Countryman

Impreza

Zero to 60 MPH

7.4 sec

9.3 sec

Quarter Mile

15.7 sec

17.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86.7 MPH

83 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 Impreza 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 Impreza doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Countryman has 2.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Impreza (16.1 vs. 13.2 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 Impreza.

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

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 Impreza 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 Impreza doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Countryman stops shorter than the Impreza:

Countryman

Impreza

60 to 0 MPH

120 feet

124 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

130 feet

140 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Countryman has larger tires than the Impreza (225/55R17 vs. 205/55R16).

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

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 Impreza doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The Countryman has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Countryman flat and controlled during cornering. The Impreza base model’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 Impreza’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Countryman has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Impreza doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Countryman is 1.4 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Impreza.

The Countryman S ALL4 handles at .83 G’s, while the Impreza 2.0i Limited 5-door pulls only .80 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 Impreza 2.0i Limited 5-door (27.2 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 27.9 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Countryman has a 1.4 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Impreza (6.5 vs. 5.1 inches), allowing the Countryman to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The Countryman is 6.4 inches shorter than the Impreza 5-door, making the Countryman easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Countryman a Mid-size car, while the Impreza 5-door is rated a Small Station Wagon.

The Countryman has .7 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more rear headroom and 1.1 inches more rear legroom than the Impreza.

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

Cargo Capacity

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To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Countryman’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by waving your foot, leaving your hands completely free. The Impreza doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

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 Impreza 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 Impreza 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 Impreza 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 Impreza 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 Impreza prevents the driver from operating the rear 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 Impreza’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

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 Impreza 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 Impreza’s power window 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 Impreza’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 Impreza doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Consumer Reports rated the Countryman’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Impreza’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

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 Impreza has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Premium/Sport/Limited.

The Countryman’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Impreza Premium/Sport/Limited.

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 Impreza’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

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 Impreza doesn’t offer dual zone air-conditioning.

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

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 Impreza 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 Impreza doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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The Countryman is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Impreza doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Countryman is less expensive to operate than the Impreza because it costs $91 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Countryman than the Impreza, including $66 less for a starter, $15 less for fuel injection, $25 less for a fuel pump and $20 less for front struts.

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 2019/12/09

Consumer Reports® recommends both the MINI Countryman and the Subaru Impreza, 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 Impreza isn’t in the top three.

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

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