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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Acura RDX 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 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Collision Mitigating Braking System in the RDX as “Superior.” The Countryman scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”
The RDX’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 RDX Advance has a standard Surround-View Camera System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Countryman only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.
The RDX’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 RDX’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.
Both the RDX and the Countryman 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, plastic fuel tanks, 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.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RDX its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 32 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Countryman last would have qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.
Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the RDX 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than MINI covers the Countryman. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Countryman ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
There are over 2 times as many Acura dealers as there are MINI dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the RDX’s warranty.
The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 138 more horsepower (272 vs. 134) and 118 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 162) than the Countryman’s standard 1.5 turbo 3-cylinder. The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 83 more horsepower (272 vs. 189) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 206) than the Countryman S’ standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.
As tested in Motor Trend the Acura RDX is faster than the MINI Countryman:
Countryman turbo 3 cyl.
Zero to 60 MPH
Speed in 1/4 Mile
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Acura RDX uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The Countryman requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The RDX has a gallon more fuel capacity than the Countryman (17.1 vs. 16.1 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The RDX has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Countryman doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Acura RDX, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Countryman.
The RDX stops much shorter than the Countryman:
60 to 0 MPH
60 to 0 MPH (Wet)
For better traction, the RDX has larger standard tires than the Countryman (235/55R19 vs. 225/55R17). The RDX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Countryman (255/40R20 vs. 225/55R17).
The RDX A-Spec’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Countryman’s optional 45 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RDX has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Countryman. The RDX A-Spec’s 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the Countryman.
The RDX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Countryman doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RDX’s wheelbase is 3.2 inches longer than on the Countryman (108.3 inches vs. 105.1 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RDX is 2.3 inches wider in the front and 2.7 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Countryman.
The RDX AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Countryman ALL4 pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
The RDX AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the Countryman ALL4 (27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .58 average G’s).
For greater off-road capability the RDX has a 1.7 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Countryman (8.2 vs. 6.5 inches), allowing the RDX to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.
The RDX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Countryman doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The RDX has 7.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Countryman (104 vs. 96.9).
The RDX has 1.2 inches more front legroom, 4.9 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear legroom and 2.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Countryman.
The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Countryman with its rear seat up (31.1 vs. 17.6 cubic feet). The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Countryman with its rear seat folded (79.8 vs. 47.6 cubic feet).
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the RDX’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Countryman doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the RDX. The Countryman doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
The RDX has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The Countryman has no towing capacity.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Acura service is better than MINI. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 13% lower rating, MINI is ranked 10th.
The RDX has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Countryman doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the RDX 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.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The RDX’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Countryman’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”
To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the RDX has standard extendable sun visors. The Countryman doesn’t offer extendable visors.
The RDX has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the Countryman. The RDX Advance also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Countryman.
Optional air-conditioned seats in the RDX keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The Countryman doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
On extremely cold winter days, the RDX’s optional 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.
The RDX has a standard 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. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Countryman.
Insurance will cost less for the RDX owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the RDX will cost $735 to $2115 less than the Countryman over a five-year period.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RDX is less expensive to operate than the Countryman because it costs $9 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the RDX than the Countryman, including $17 less for a water pump, $102 less for a muffler, $85 less for front struts and $347 less for a timing belt/chain.
The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Acura RDX, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels. The MINI Countryman isn't recommended.
The Acura RDX outsold the MINI Countryman by almost five to one during 2019.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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