Torn between two top-recommended crossovers for your next car investment? The new MINI Countryman and Hyundai Kona bring plenty of punchy performance and style to American car buyers. But which one is best for the daily drive to the office and a weekend road trip to shop in the city or visit a nearby KOA campground? We’ve laid out the comparison details along with a few pros and cons for the 2021 Hyundai Kona and 2021 Mini Cooper Countryman. Here’s what we think.
Why choose the new Hyundai Kona?
The south Korean carmaker continues to innovate by creating fuel-efficient engines and affordable long-lasting vehicles with generous engine warranties. Their line of new compact SUVs and crossovers is only growing in popularity across the world and if you’re seeking a compact crossover that gives you the highway speed and capability for suburban terrains, the new Kona is a thrilling prospect for single drivers and small families.
First off, the front fascia of the 2021 Hyundai Kona is sharper than ever with plenty of headlight power behind the multiple fog lights and LED headlamps. No matter where you drive at night or during foggy or stormy weather, this compact Hyundai stands out on the road igniting your path. There are 5 Kona trims to pick from, and the top tier models bring higher horsepower and technology under $30k.
The Kona Limited and Ultimate trims provide drivers with peppy highway power with the 175-horsepower 1.6 Liter Turbo GDI engine and there’s just as much sport as there is luxury with the 18-inch alloy wheels, head-up display, and forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection. Safety and driver-assist options are a plus, but so is the available all-wheel drive which gives you the traction and cornering capability you need on slick wet or snowy roads.
One of the best things Hyundai buyers drive home with is a fantastic warranty. Every 2021 Hyundai will receive complimentary maintenance for 3 years or 36,000 miles or whichever comes first. Also, gas mileage. Save some cash for Christmas gifts when receiving 27 MPG city and 30 MPG on the highway. We loved this car so much, it made our top 5 2021 gas-saving vehicle’s list.
There’s no secret that this is a tiny car, but though there are few cons about this compact crossover, when compared to the Mini Cooper Countryman it doesn’t give enormous leg space or cargo space. For smaller families the Hyundai Kona is ideal, but for taller drivers, the Kona might feel like a tight fit. Also, the touchscreen in the upper trims remains at 8 inches, which may feel outdated to some drivers who want larger touchscreen interfaces. The rectangle shape touchscreen does seem to feel more practical than MINI’s circular platform.
The Hyundai Kona provides a total of 45.8 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded, and for passengers, they have about 41.5 inches of rear legroom. Not a complete failure of space seeing the rear legroom is smaller for the Countryman at 37.6 inches, but drivers who want a step up in a traditional luxury car driving style and less space, will find their fit inside a MINI.
Does the MINI Countryman have a good reputation?
We’d say they do. One of the original makers of compact city drivers that offer sporty performance with robust engines atop a tasteful British style, the MINI brand has been around since the late fifties. Today they continue to create luxury compacts with proper interiors and style. The 2021 Mini Cooper Countryman comes in a 4-door body style and if you were to compress a Land Rover Evoque, it would probably look like this compact crossover by MINI.
From the streets to the trails, the Countryman brings its All4 Drive within its upper trim options as well as plush leather interior options and a large sunroof that allows a ton of natural light into the cabin. With only three trim levels to pick from in the 2021 Countryman, the Classic, Signature, and Iconic trims are all above average for compact crossovers and the MSRP ranges between $29k and $37 across the spectrum. Not only do you drive into the work parking lot in style, but in comfort with soft-touch interior texture and carbon fiber trim on select models.
The horsepower you receive in the MINI Countryman is above par compared to the Hyundai Kona. Opt for the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that boasts up to 301-horsepower and still receives up to 30 mpg on the highway. Highly efficient, and juiced for the highway, the MINI holds its own when it comes to engine performance. Even the 3-cylinder 1.5-Liter hybrid engine option gives drivers 221-horsepower which is plenty of punch for the highway.
The body exterior has remained true to the stocky and sportiness of MINI, and though the oval lights and minimalistic grille give it a bold stature, the MINI brand lacks in sharpness when compared to other crossover models of its class. The two-tone body designs have some appeal, but the colors are dull compared to the exotic color lineup in the Hyundai Kona. Colors that redefine old body colors like MINI’s Chili Red, Emerald Gray Metallic, and Melting Silver. If you like the dark and dreary appeal, you’ll love this British car, but Hyundai sports new, more futuristic colors like Thunder Gray, Sunset Orange, Lime Twist, and Surf Blue.
Final thoughts on the MINI Countryman and Hyundai Kona
It’s a tough pick but if you want to stick with traditional styling and bold performance, MINI is the best option for urban dwellers who still drive on cobblestone streets or drive up and down parking garages. If you’re hitting the highway more often, the Hyundai Kona is an excellent commuter vehicle for weekend adventurers as well as the daily drive to work. The Kona also is available with an all-electric motor with a four-door body style, and though MINI comes with its own two-door version of its first EV release, it can’t compare to Hyundai’s interior space.
For affordability and style points, we recommend the Hyundai Kona to small family drivers. If you’re into a more sophisticated commute, the MINI Countryman is a fun ride with plenty of street zip for the city and highway. Test drive before you buy and always ask how the family feels about the space before you make your first down payment.